Dog Brothers Public Forum
Return To Homepage
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
September 14, 2014, 11:06:44 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
82413 Posts in 2249 Topics by 1062 Members
Latest Member: seawolfpack5
* Home Help Search Login Register
  Show Posts
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 623
101  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Former VA Gov. McDonnel and wife guilty on: September 04, 2014, 02:46:45 PM


Former Viginia Gov. Bob McDonnell Guilty of Public Corruption, A.P. Reports
Former Viginia Gov. Bob McDonnell Thursday was convicted of at least one one public corruption charge, the Associated Press reported. More verdicts are pending.
Mr. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were indicted on 14 counts of conspiracy, bribery, extortion and related charges stemming from what prosecutors said was a scheme to sell the office of governor, which Mr. McDonnell occupied through January this year, for $177,000 in gifts and cash from a dietary supplements executive.
READ MORE »
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/05/us/bob-mcdonnell-maureen-mcdonnell-virginia-verdict.html?emc=edit_na_20140904

102  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Would I lie to you? on: September 04, 2014, 01:39:10 PM
 Would I lie to you?
by David Harris
Toronto Sun
August 30, 2014
http://www.investigativeproject.org/4555/would-i-lie-to-you

What's heading our way, in this terrorist-bloodied world? We depend on international media to help us find out.

So it's time to look at some dirty secrets, foreign correspondent edition.
Trench coats and panamas have given way to sat phones and moral ambiguity. An ideal starting point in understanding this media ambiguity – and its occasional, sinister undertones and implications for us – is the Israel-Hamas war.

The penny should have dropped well before today's Gaza crisis. No later than April 11, 2003, in fact.

That day, CNN admitted in the New York Times that it hid and manipulated reality, though the wording was more delicately self-regarding. Prior to the 2003 defeat of Saddam Hussein, CNN couldn't reveal fully the monstrous excesses and threatening nature of his Iraq, because, said chief news executive Eason Jordan, the network's Iraqi staff risked retaliation.

Problem: Jordan didn't explain why, having been prevented from reporting honestly there, CNN nonetheless insisted on keeping its financially rewarding Baghdad post operating before and during the 2003 war. Some critics concluded that an appetite for big, wartime money-making ratings outstripped CNN's taste for truth, with some ambitious journalists playing along.

Have media done similar things in Gaza?

International media boasts its courage and iconoclasm. But while saturating us with stories about Gazans' suffering, many journo outfits come up strangely short. Yes, we need to know about Palestinian casualties – even if Gaza's people freely elected a Hamas government on a platform of eradicating Jews and Christians.

But brief mention of Hamas' human shields is about as far as media venture into the designated terror organization's inhuman nature and inhumane operations. Surprising, given that ISIS is a four-letter word for Hamas.

The result: Virtually no press photos emerge of ferocious Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other "fighters." And no MSM interest in the UN's Palestine refugee agency's pattern of Hamas-friendly hiring at its facilities, including of teachers in schools packed with munitions. Are Hamas chiefs hiding in hospitals and mosques? Extrajudicial killings of Israeli "collaborators"? Gazan kids killed by a short-falling Hamas rocket? Who cares? Cut to pictures of Israeli tanks.

Big Hamas questions have hardly been touched, especially in the early weeks of the struggle. Why? Some media inadvertently exposed the secret.

The Wall Street Journal's Nick Casey tweeted a photo of a Hamas mouthpiece at Gaza's main hospital, and asked, with "the shelling, how patients at Shifa hospital feel as Hamas uses it as a safe place to see media." Then, with that courage and iconoclasm we hear about, the tweet was yanked.

You want iconoclasm? Take Libération, the French hard-left daily founded by that rolling barrage of mistresses and metaphysics, Jean-Paul Sartre.
Libération reporter Radjaa Abou Dagga said Hamas had offices near Shifa's emergency room, then announced that heavies served him notice: "You will leave Gaza fast and stop work." And, presto. Dagga's article disappeared from "Libé's" web page, replaced by a sniveling, self-rebuking note: Dagga's report was "dépublié" – "depublished," withdrawn – "at the author's request."

Fear of becoming ISIS-styled, halal-slaughtered journalists? Keeping options open for future postings on Islamist territory? A combination?
Fear surely rules in Hamastan. Whispered stories describe Gaza-based scribblers facing Hamas death threats, and the Foreign Press Association has belatedly condemned terrorist intimidation. But maybe CNN-type ambitions are at work, too.

Either way, correspondent Uriel Heilman put it best. Covering the Israel-Hamas fighting, Heilman wrote that unreported Hamas censorship and press self-censorship mean the public is "only getting half the story."
"And where I come from," he added, "a half-truth is considered a lie."
Something to remember when relying on media for intelligence about our future in a dangerous world.

- A lawyer with 30 years' experience in intelligence affairs, David B. Harris is director of the International Intelligence Program, INSIGNIS Strategic Research Inc.
103  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Aug. ISM non-mftg index beats consensus on: September 04, 2014, 01:33:41 PM
The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index Increased to 59.6 in August To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 9/4/2014

The ISM non-manufacturing index increased to 59.6 in August, easily beating the consensus expected 57.7. (Levels above 50 signal expansion; levels below 50 signal contraction.)

The major measures of activity were mostly higher in August, and all remain above 50. The business activity index jumped to 65.0 from 62.4 while the employment index increased to 57.1 from 56.0. The supplier deliveries index moved higher to 52.5 from 51.5. The new orders index dipped to 63.8 from 64.9.
The prices paid index declined to 57.7 in August from 60.9 in July.

Implications: Another strong reading from the service sector as the ISM services index jumped to 59.6 in August, beating the forecast from all 74 economic groups that made a prediction and coming in at the highest reading since August 2005. The ISM service sector has now shown expansion for a 55th consecutive month. Paired with the strong ISM manufacturing report from Tuesday, it’s clear the economy is continuing to bounce back from the harsher than normal winter that slowed activity at the start of the year. The business activity index– which has a stronger correlation with economic growth than the overall index – rose 2.6 points in August to 65.0, the highest reading for the index in close to ten years. New orders dipped slightly, but remain at a very robust reading of 63.8, suggesting production should continue to pick up in the months ahead. After the drop back in April, the employment index has expanded for each of the past four months and, with this month’s reading of 57.1, has moved above the average reading of 56.5 seen over the past five years. As employment continues to expand, expect income growth to boost consumer spending and business revenue, which, in turn, will help support even more job growth in the future. In other words, the growth in the economy is self-sustaining and should remain that way until monetary policy gets tight, which is at least a few years away. On the inflation front, the prices paid index dropped to a still elevated 57.7 in August from 60.9 in July. No sign of runaway inflation, but given loose monetary policy, we expect this measure to either stay elevated or move upward over the coming year. Once again, we have a report showing the Plow Horse economy may be starting to trot. In other recent news, Americans bought cars at a 17.5 million annual rate in August, much higher than the consensus expected and the fastest pace since January 2006. Sales were up 6.4% versus July and up 10% from a year ago. These figures suggest a strong rebound in retail sales in August after no change in July.
104  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: September 04, 2014, 11:35:12 AM
Is It Time to Propose More Constitutional Amendments?
 

In the U.S. Constitution, America's Founding Fathers crafted the world's preeminent governing document securing Liberty. Yet they also understood their work wasn't perfect, and thus they created an avenue for amending it. Unfortunately, for most of the last century, the Left discarded the amendment process in favor of adopting what they call the "living constitution" -- a malleable document that means whatever they want it to mean at the time they want to mean it.

Outgoing Sen. Tom Cole (R-OK) says the time has come to rectify some of the wrongs done by calling for an Article V convention to propose amendments to the Constitution. That is different from a constitutional convention in which a new document would be written.

Article V of the document lays out the process for amendments: "The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress."

All 17 amendments enacted after the Bill of Rights were accomplished through the first of the two constitutional methods prescribed -- two-thirds of both houses passing an amendment. There has never been a convention held upon application by the states.

But Coburn is aiming high. "I think [George] Mason was prophetic that we would devolve to where the federal government became too powerful, too big and too unwieldy," he said. "That’s why he put Article V in." There are specific things Coburn wants, too. "I think we ought to have a balanced budget amendment," he asserted. "I think we ought to have term limits. I think we ought to put a chokehold on regulation and re-establish the powers of the Congress."

The last item is of utmost concern given the imperial presidency of the last six years. As The Hill notes, "President Obama’s use of executive action to pursue an array of policy goals related to climate change, immigration and healthcare reform has precipitated what many conservatives are calling a constitutional crisis."

It's not just conservatives. Liberal law professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, a long-time Obama supporter, warned recently, “We are seeing the emergence of a different model of government, a model long-ago rejected by the framers.” Turley added that we have "a system that is in crisis." In fact, he argued, "The president’s pledge to effectively govern alone is alarming, and what is most alarming is his ability to fulfill that pledge. When a president can govern alone, he can become a government unto himself, which is precisely the danger the framers sought to avoid.”

Coburn knows a convention would never succeed if it becomes only a way to push for partisan changes. Lawrence Lessig, a liberal professor at Harvard Law School, supports a convention, though he agrees with Coburn that politicizing it would guarantee failure. Lessig says, “The legitimate constitutional questions that are being put on the table are questions about the balanced budget, the size of government ... as well as the integrity of the electoral process. That’s the stuff the people on the left are talking about."

All conservatives see a federal government that has completely disregarded the Constitution and Rule of Law, yet many see problems with calling an Article V convention. Amending the Constitution assumes, first of all, that the federal government would abide by those amendments when it has clearly not remained within current bounds. A convention also opens the door to undesirable changes (Democrat efforts to stifle free speech, for example) -- but then again, so did starting a revolution. That said, any proposed amendments would still have to clear three-fourths of the states.

(As an alternative to Coburn's proposal, Mark Alexander has suggested a Constitutional Confederation.)

In the words of George Washington, “The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution, which at any time exists, ‘till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole People, is sacredly obligatory upon all."

Coburn's idea has its merits, but our primary hope in restoring that truth is educating the American people about Essential Liberty and in electing representatives, including at the state level, who will honor their oath to "support and defend" the Constitution, and then to hold those government officials accountable.

As was the case at the dawn of American Liberty, we are but a small band of American Patriots facing an empire of statists, but we remain steadfast in our sacred oath to support and defend the Constitution.
105  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / LA judge upholds traditional marriage law on: September 04, 2014, 11:31:24 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/04/us/louisiana-gay-marriage-ban-upheld-by-federal-judge.html?emc=edit_th_20140904&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=49641193
106  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / DC Circuit agrees to En Banc hearing on: September 04, 2014, 11:29:46 AM
DC Circuit Agrees to En Banc Hearing of ObamaCare Ruling

In July, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled in Halbig v. Burwell that ObamaCare subsidies given through the federal exchanges were illegal because the law provides for them only through state exchanges. It was a huge blow for the law's supporters, who ironically argued the law doesn't mean what it says. However, the full court has granted a rehearing en banc in December. Clearly, Barack Obama hopes for a favorable ruling this time before the case heads to the Supreme Court. This is exactly why Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid went nuclear to change confirmation rules so Obama could pack the court with his jurists favorable to his lawlessness.
107  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / William Paterson: Lesse v Dorrance 1795 on: September 04, 2014, 11:26:58 AM
"What is a Constitution? It is the form of government, delineated by the mighty hand of the people, in which certain first principles of fundamental law are established. The Constitution is certain and fixed; it contains the permanent will of the people, and is the supreme law of the land; it is paramount to the power of the Legislature, and can be revoked or altered only by the authority that made it." --William Paterson, VanHorne's Lessee v. Dorrance, 1795
108  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Morris on triangulating to take the Senate on: September 04, 2014, 11:01:53 AM

http://www.dickmorris.com/using-triangulation-win-senate-dick-morris-tv-lunch-alert/?utm_source=dmreports&utm_medium=dmreports&utm_campaign=dmreports

"Illegal aliens driving down working class wages, thus creating income inequality"
109  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Weaponized plague is a jihadi pipe dream on: September 04, 2014, 10:51:52 AM
 Weaponized Plague Is Just Another Jihadist Pipe Dream
Security Weekly
Thursday, September 4, 2014 - 03:00 Print Text Size
Stratfor

By Scott Stewart

On Aug. 28, Foreign Policy magazine released an exclusive story by Harald Doornbos and Jenan Moussa titled Found: The Islamic State's Terror Laptop of Doom. The story noted that among a cache of documents found on a computer captured from the Islamic State in Syria was a 19-page document purported to be instructions for creating a biological weapon by weaponizing plague extracted from infected animals. According to the article, the document noted: "The advantage of biological weapons is that they do not cost a lot of money, while the human casualties can be huge."

This document provides a good example of the terrorist tradecraft conundrum militant organizations often face, in which their intent outstrips their capability. While biological weapons do appear to be easy to manufacture and deploy in theory, history shows a successful biological weapons program is far harder to achieve than it may appear at first glance.

As we noted in 2009 in response to rumors that al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb was experimenting with the plague as well, the plague, sometimes referred to as the Black Death, is a naturally occurring disease that is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. This pathogen is found in rodents and fleas that infest them and exists in many parts of the world, including the western United States. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are some 1,000 to 2,000 cases of plague diagnosed in humans every year, with between one and 17 of those cases occurring in the United States. It is notable, however, that according to the World Health Organization, plague does not occur naturally in Syria or Iraq, although it does in Libya and Algeria.

Y. pestis can infect humans in three ways. The bacteria cause pneumonic plague when inhaled, though pneumonic plague can also occur when plague bacteria from another form of transmission infect the lungs. Bubonic plague results when the bacteria enter through a break in the skin (such as a fleabite) and septicemic plague occurs when the bacteria multiply in the victim's blood, usually after being infected by one of the other types. In general, a fleabite is the primary form of infection, and if the infection is left untreated, it can evolve into a case of bubonic (the most common outcome) or septicemic plague.

Y. pestis is a fragile bacterium that does not last long in sunlight or after it is dried, and plague is treatable with antibiotics, which are especially effective if administered early. However, pneumonic plague can be contagious if a person inhales respiratory droplets containing the bacteria from an infected person. Such a transmission usually requires close contact with the infected individual. Merely wearing a simple surgical mask can protect a person from pneumonic plague infection.
Weaponized Plague

Before we assess the Islamic State's capability and intent to create a weapon using plague, let's first look briefly at the history of plague as a weapon.

Plague has long been of interest as a weapon in biological warfare, with reports from Tatars catapulting plague-infected bodies at Genoese sailors in the City of Caffa in the Crimea in the 14th century, to Japan's efforts to drop clay pots of plague-infected fleas over Manchuria, to the Soviet weapons programs during the Cold War and perhaps beyond. While the Tatars and Japanese used the bubonic form of the plague, according to former Soviet scientist Ken Alibek, the Soviet program focused on and perfected an aerosolized form of the bacterium designed to cause pneumonic plague.

Without question, the best example of a modern non-state actor developing a biological weapons program was the Japanese Aum Shinrikyo, which in the late 1980s assembled a team of trained scientists and spent millions of dollars to develop a series of state-of-the-art biological weapons research and production laboratories.

Aum experimented with botulinum toxin, anthrax, cholera and Q fever and even tried to acquire the Ebola virus. However, despite multiple attempts to produce mass casualty attacks using botulinum toxin and anthrax from 1990 to 1993, Aum was not able to produce a virulent agent -- indeed, nobody outside of the group was even aware that the attacks happened. It was only when the group switched to producing chemical weapons, such as the nerve agent sarin and sodium cyanide gas, that it was able to conduct fatal attacks in 1995. The investigation into the chemical attacks produced the evidence of the group's extensive biological weapons program. Frankly, they could have killed far more people, with far less expense and effort, using firearms or bombs, but such conventional weapons could never produce the global apocalypse the group's leadership aspired to.

Despite the difficulties inherent in developing a biological weapons program, radical groups have not given up. It has long been known that jihadist groups such as al Qaeda have sought to develop chemical and biological weapons, believing that using such weapons is not only permissible but even an obligation. In an interview aired on ABC News in December 1998, Osama bin Laden said, "If I have indeed acquired these weapons, then this is an obligation I carried out, and I thank God for enabling me to do so." While terrorist groups have experimented with crude biological toxins such as ricin and crude chemical compounds such as sodium cyanide gas, they have not been able to parlay those experiments into viable weapons capable of creating mass casualties.
Radical Intent

To properly understand the threat posed by the Islamic State's employing biological weapons, we must examine both the group's intent and capability. First, as noted above, the group has ample ideological justifications. Second, by design, terrorist attacks are intended to have a psychological impact far outweighing the physical damage they cause. As their name suggests, they are meant to cause terror that amplifies the actual attack. The Islamic State has a long history of conducting brutal actions intended to cause panic, and a successful biological terrorist attack would certainly create such a panic.

Clearly, if the Islamic State were able to develop effective biological weapons, it would employ them, if not against targets in the West, then against regime targets in Iraq and Syria. Indeed, in 2006 and 2007 the group's predecessor, al Qaeda in Iraq, included large quantities of chlorine in vehicle bombs in an effort to cause mass casualties against U.S. and Iraqi troops in Iraq. These weapons proved quite ineffective, and the explosives in the bombs killed more people than the chlorine. This caused the group to discontinue their use when they did not achieve the desired results.

The Islamic State would love to discover a cheap and easy way to create mass casualties, but in pursuing plague as a weapon, the group appears to have bought into some of the many common misconceptions involving biological weapons, namely, that they are easy to obtain, easy to deploy effectively, and, when used, always cause massive casualties. But as illustrated by the above-mentioned Aum Shinrikyo example, in the real world, creating an effective biological weapons program requires extensive investment, scientific know-how, and time and effort -- and they still don't always work as advertised.
Limited Capability

Like many biological agents, there are great challenges associated with producing and employing large quantities of a virulent biological agent. Certainly, plague can be obtained from the environment in a place where it occurs naturally, such as Algeria or Libya, but taking that bacteria and producing a large quantity of it in a virulent form and then disbursing it in an efficient manner is another matter entirely. While the huge Soviet biological weapons program was able to overcome these obstacles and successfully produce an effective aerosolized plague weapon, it would be difficult for a smaller organization like the Islamic State to do so, especially since it lacks access to a large and advanced biological weapons program and the associated and necessary facilities.

In addition to the difficulty of establishing a viable biological weapons program in the Islamic State-controlled areas of Iraq and Syria, there are also some additional problems with the plot as reportedly outlined in the purported Islamic State biological warfare document. According to Foreign Policy, the document advised the attackers to "use small grenades with the virus, and throw them in closed areas like metros, soccer stadiums, or entertainment centers," and said that it is "best to do it next to the air-conditioning. It also can be used during suicide operations."

As noted above, Y. pestis is a fragile bacterium. The heat and shock of a grenade explosion would almost certainly kill most of the bacteria before it could be transmitted to a victim. Even if some of the bacteria were to survive the grenade's explosion, bubonic and septicemic plagues are not easily spread from person to person, and an attack with a small grenade device would therefore be unlikely to cause an epidemic; it would likely cause more panic than deaths.

If Islamic State attack planners could isolate a virulent strain of Y. pestis, infecting a few suicide operatives with pneumonic plague and then dispatching them to cough and sneeze on people, or attempting to release some infected fleas in a targeted area, might better serve them. But even if the group were somehow successful in infecting people, even these scenarios would not produce the type of mass casualties the Islamic State seeks since plague is readily treatable with antibiotics, making weaponized plague just another jihadist pipe dream.

Read more: Weaponized Plague Is Just Another Jihadist Pipe Dream | Stratfor

110  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Z-big gets one right , , , in 1994 on: September 04, 2014, 10:45:26 AM

Sept. 3, 2014 7:17 p.m. ET

Zbigniew Brzezinski writing in Foreign Affairs, March/April 1994:

Insurance is needed against the possibility, one might even argue the probability, that the weight of history will not soon permit Russia to stabilize as a democracy, and that the single-minded cultivation of a partnership with Russia, while downgrading other interests, will simply accelerate the reemergence of an ominously familiar imperial challenge to Europe's security. . . .

The crucial issue here, one that might well come to a dramatic head in the course of 1994, is the future stability and independence of Ukraine. It cannot be stressed strongly enough that without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire. American policymakers must face the fact that Ukraine is on the brink of disaster: the economy is in a free-fall, while Crimea is on the verge of a Russia-abetted ethnic explosion. Either crisis might be exploited to promote the breakup or the reintegration of Ukraine in a larger Moscow-dominated framework. It is urgent and essential that the United States convince the Ukranian government, through the promise of substantial economic assistance, to adopt long-delayed and badly needed economic reforms. At the same time, American political assurances for Ukraine's independence and territorial integrity should be forthcoming.
111  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Reps for what? on: September 04, 2014, 10:38:26 AM
Republicans for What?
The GOP won't get the victory it seeks without a positive agenda.
WSJ

Sept. 3, 2014 7:47 p.m. ET

The post-Labor Day election campaign is underway, and the early conventional wisdom is that Republican hopes of a 2010-style wave are fading. GOP gains in the House could only be a few seats and the six pickups to take the Senate are still uncertain. This is coming from the usual liberal suspects, but it is also whispered by GOP strategists. Maybe Republicans should try to improve their odds by telling voters what they would do if they win.

By any typical political measure, this ought to be a great Republican year. President Obama is widely unpopular, the Senate playing field is largely in conservative states, the tide of war is rising around the world, and gains in stocks and other asset prices haven't translated into higher wages for most Americans. Many Republicans look at this and think they can win merely by running to be a check on Mr. Obama.
Enlarge Image

Corbis

The trouble is that the House GOP already provides that check, and voters are even more unhappy with Congress than they are with Mr. Obama. The kamikaze government shutdown, among other fits of temper, has so tarnished the GOP reputation that even many voters who dislike Mr. Obama might stay home in November.

It's true that individual candidates are running on their own issues. Repeal ObamaCare is popular in GOP precincts, even if can't happen with Mr. Obama in office. And everyone favors the Keystone XL pipeline.

But the lack of any common GOP agenda is leading to the perception of a policy vacuum that plays into Mr. Obama's critique that Republicans are opposed to everything. The President's proposal to raise the minimum wage may be irrelevant to most Americans, but at least it's something. And something usually beats nothing.

The current GOP campaign also plays into the Democratic strategy to make every Senate race an ugly brawl between two equally tarnished candidates. Harry Reid's SuperPac is spending millions of dollars to define GOP challengers as creatures from the black lagoon. Since they're mostly defending incumbents who are better known, Democrats figure they have the better chance to win a character fight. This is one reason races in Arkansas, North Carolina, Louisiana and Alaska continue to be close.

Especially as Election Day nears and disengaged voters pay attention, Republicans need to show voters what they're for. This doesn't have to be another Contract with America, a la Newt Gingrich in 1994. Given intra-GOP differences, the better model might be the Pelosi Democrats in 2006. Despite being dominated by war horses from the Great Society, those Democrats focused on six smallish ideas that united their ranks and didn't scare moderates unhappy with George W. Bush.

The political point is to focus on a few proposals that address voter concerns and that Republicans could pass and put on Mr. Obama's desk if they win both houses of Congress. This would give the GOP something positive to talk about, beginning the long process of repairing their public image.

It would also educate their own voters about what is achievable if they do take Congress. The worst outcome would be for Republicans to take the Senate by one or two seats and then fail to deliver anything because their yahoos demand the impossible. That would set up Hillary Clinton to run against the failures of a GOP Congress in 2016, and perhaps deny them a governing majority if a Republican does win back the White House.

We don't know what the GOP House and Senate campaign committees might agree on, but here are a couple of ideas that would combine GOP principles with populist notes that fit the public mood:

• Pick up former Senator Phil Gramm's proposal to offer the freedom option in health insurance, letting individuals opt out of ObamaCare's regulations to buy the policies they want. This would address the concerns of voters who lost the insurance they liked or are paying more. The White House and left would howl, but many Democrats would find it hard to oppose.

• Promise to repeal "too big to fail." Even Mr. Obama's regulators recently admitted this policy remains in place when they rejected the "living wills" that banks must propose under Dodd-Frank. This is a populist way to reopen the issue of financial regulation.

• Go beyond Keystone XL by promising to quickly and greatly increase domestic energy production and exports. This would appeal to union voters as a jobs measure, to consumers in potentially lower energy costs, and to Americans concerned about growing turmoil in Europe and the Middle East. U.S. natural gas exports could make our allies less dependent on Gazprom. GAZP.RS -12.44%

This is far from a complete list, but the point is to run a campaign that is about more than attacking Mr. Obama. Most Americans already regret re-electing him. But they are more likely to give Republicans the big majorities they seek if they also sense their lives might be better with a GOP Congress.
112  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Secret to ISIL's success on: September 04, 2014, 06:16:15 AM
Brutal Efficiency: The Secret to Islamic State's Success
Group Blends Military Tactics With Conventional Terrorism, Tribal Ties, Coercion and a Highly Organized Structure
by Siobhan Gorman, Nour Malas and Matt Bradley
WSJ
Updated Sept. 3, 2014 9:35 a.m. ET

A militant Islamist fighter waves a flag as he takes part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province in June. Reuters

Islamic State's stunning success this summer as it swept across northern Iraq and Syria flows from a highly organized structure controlled by a tightknit cadre led by an Islamist zealot who learned from the mistakes of his al Qaeda predecessors.

Blending familiar terrorist acts such as car bombings with conventional military tactics, the group bolsters its strength with local tribal connections and the skills of former generals in Saddam Hussein's army, said Western and Middle Eastern officials tracking the extremist movement.

Thrown into the mix is an effective recruitment strategy—join us or die, some young men in captured areas are told—along with wealth from the extortion of local businessmen and the appeal to religious fundamentalists of having a new Islamic "caliphate" on occupied land. To its supporters, Islamic State has effectively portrayed the quest for territory as an existential fight for Sunni Muslims world-wide.


A video recently uploaded to YouTube purports to show al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri announcing the militant group's expansion into the Indian subcontinent. It is not known when then the video was filmed, but the announcement could be seen as an attempt to counter recent propaganda efforts by the Islamic State. The Wall Street Journal has not independently verified the video.

The result is a new breed of terror organization. "They have just improved on what al Qaeda has done, and they have done it on a much larger scale," said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism specialist at Georgetown University.

The organization is led by a core group of leaders who have known each other for years, with anyone of dubious loyalty long since eliminated.

Like top Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, many of those in the inner circle spent time in American custody at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq. From detention, "they emerged even more radical," said Hasan Abu Hanieh, a Jordanian expert on al Qaeda.

Islamic State has a tight command and control structure with about a dozen leaders at the top, said Western and Arab officials and Syrian rebels who have watched the group evolve. Emulating an army operation, the group sometimes pauses its military operations to consolidate gains and shore up logistical infrastructure.

"They adopted a structure of governance that the others did not," said Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Mich.), chairman of the House intelligence committee. He noted that Islamic State recently appointed an oil minister to coordinate the captured energy facilities.

By contrast, al Qaeda—of which Islamic State once was a part but no longer is—generally doesn't occupy territory. In a video in July, a man jihadist watchers said was Mr. Baghdadi demanded that Muslims swear allegiance to his caliphate.

Mr. Baghdadi in 2010 took over a group once known as al Qaeda in Iraq, which had been founded after the U.S. Iraq invasion and led by the militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. AQI grew to as many as 10,000 guerrillas in 2006-07, by which time a U.S. airstrike had killed Mr. Zarqawi.

During part of that time, in 2004, Mr. Baghdadi was confined in Camp Bucca, a facility that held more than 20,000 detainees at times.

In 2007, Mr. Baghdadi joined al Qaeda's Iraq branch, at the time known to its members as the Islamic State in Iraq, which was the seed for today's organization. That year, the branch began shrinking, and it was only 5% or 10% of its peak size by the time American forces left Iraq, U.S. intelligence officials said.

In taking over al Qaeda in Iraq, Mr. Baghdadi inherited an organization with a pyramidlike structure, according to Charles Lister, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center. While analysts are still trying to clarify chains of command and operational details of the group—in flux as it both grows and develops—some details are emerging.

Now playing a role approximating that of a second-in-command is a former Iraqi Army officer with the nom de guerre Abu Ali al-Anbari. He largely manages the group's Syria operations, some analysts said. That includes directing battle against other Syrian rebels who oppose both President Bashar al-Assad's regime and Islamic State.

Mr. Anbari rose through al Qaeda in Iraq after being ejected from another Iraqi radical Sunni group, Ansar al-Islam, amid financial corruption allegations, according to Syrian and Iraqi militants. His knowledge of Shariah Islamic rules isn't considered as extensive as that of other senior leaders, according to these militants, who said he now acts as a kind of political envoy.

Another important Baghdadi lieutenant is Fadel Ahmed Abdullah al-Hiyali, according to Hisham al-Hashimi, a Baghdad-based expert on militants.

Mr. Hiyali—nom de guerre Abu Muslim Al Turkmani—is, like Mr. Anbari, a former general under Saddam Hussein. He once practiced a moderate form of Islam. Decommissioned from the Iraqi army after U.S. forces arrived, he joined Sunni Muslim insurgents to fight the Americans, Mr. Hashimi said. Some analysts describe Mr. Hiyali as equal in stature to Mr. Anbari.

Mr. Baghdadi has a war cabinet and a Shura council, or collection of religious scholars to legislate, said Mr. Lister of Brookings.

In addition, the Islamic State leader has a cabinet of ministers and a council of provincial governors.

The leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, delivers a sermon at a mosque in Iraq in July. Associated Press

Mr. Baghdadi acts as a commanding general and doesn't micromanage, U.S. officials said. He has a courier service to deliver messages such as religious decrees and military commands.

His leadership is infused with "a real sense of paranoia and a focus on outright loyalty," according to Mr. Lister. He said that when Mr. Baghdadi took the reins four years ago, he presided over an assassination campaign against any of his commanders suspected of potential disloyalty. The military command now is in the hands of men Mr. Baghdadi knows and trusts intimately.

Among foreign fighters, only the best are permitted to take on a high public profile. These include the red-bearded Abu Omar al Shishani, an ethnic Chechen who once served in an intelligence unit of the Georgian army and now is based in Syria. That strategy, experts say, is finely curated to sustain the group's global jihad appeal.

As it takes territory, Islamic State has left much of the work of governing to local officials, helping it avoid unduly alienating the population. Its capture of territory, including oil fields and bank branches, also has left it financially flush.

In taking land, said Mr. Hashimi, the strategy is to exploit alliances with local tribal leaders—who either are like-minded allies or have been intimidated, bribed or coerced to provide sanctuary and support.

The group capitalized on Sunni groups' disaffection with now-departing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose approach favoring Shiite Muslims drove sectarian divisions.

Islamic State also has developed a pattern of operating within striking distance of those it regards as its enemies, particularly Shiites, to provide fighters with an ideological animus.

"Their strategy is always that they will fight within a Sunni environment near a Shiite enemy that gives them motivation," Mr. Hashimi said.

Islamic State's ability to hold territory has furthered the perception it has momentum and is winning, U.S. intelligence officials say. Among other effects, that fuels recruitment.

The group's comeback, after its decline, began around 2012. By June of this year, before Islamic State blazed across Iraq and took control of Mosul and Tikrit, its numbers were again up to 10,000 fighters, U.S. intelligence officials said,

It employs a range of recruitment tactics, often coercing new recruits. Just since July, more than 6,000 fighters have joined Islamic State, nearly 5,000 of them Syrians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Syrian opposition watchdog.

Islamic State trains recruits in two camps, in Aleppo and Raqqa, said the Observatory. It called this summer's recruitment the heaviest since April 2013, when the group once called al Qaeda in Iraq adopted the names Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). In late June 2014, it shortened its name to simply Islamic State, though it is sometimes still referred to as ISIS or ISIL.

Of this summer's recruits, the Observatory estimated 1,300 were from outside Syria and Iraq.

U.S. officials say roughly a dozen Americans have gone to fight with Islamic State militants, with at least two killed recently while fighting with the group. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is tracking more than 100 Americans who have gone to Syria to fight with different jihadist militant groups, though the FBI has said it doesn't know how many Americans it has missed.

Many more fighters have come from other Western countries. British security officials estimate 500 Britons have joined militant groups in Syria, and officials believe the more recent recruits have largely been drawn to Islamic State.
113  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How fg feeble-- looks like French are still looking for a way to make the sale on: September 04, 2014, 06:10:47 AM
France Threatens to Suspend Warship Delivery to Russia, Citing Ukraine
Under Pressure from Western Allies, Hollande Shifts Rhetoric on Moscow Defense Deal
By Inti Landauro in Paris and
Stacy Meichtry in Newport, Wales
Updated Sept. 3, 2014 8:14 p.m. ET

The Vladivostok, the first of two Mistral-class warships ordered for the Russian navy, awaits delivery in the French shipyard of Saint-Nazaire. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

France backed off from plans to deliver a controversial warship to Russia next month, saying that the Kremlin's support of breakaway forces in eastern Ukraine endangered Europe.

The threat to suspend the delivery marks a shift in rhetoric from Paris, which had insisted on moving ahead with a €1.2 billion ($1.58 billion) contract to supply two ships to the Russian navy despite pressure from Western allies to cancel the deal.

Despite talks over a possible cease-fire in Ukraine, "the conditions that would allow France to authorize the delivery of the first Mistral-class ship aren't met as of now," President François Hollande's office said.


Moscow shrugged off France's decision. "The Defense Ministry doesn't see a particular tragedy in this," Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov told the official Tass news agency. "But it is, of course, unpleasant and puts a certain tension in the interactions with our French partners."

France issued the warning a day ahead of a summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the Welsh town of Newport, during which members of the military alliance are expected to discuss how to contain Russia.

The carefully worded statement, though, left open the possibility that France could complete the delivery on schedule if Russia pulls back from its intervention in Ukraine and moves to calm the crisis.

As the conflict between Ukraine and pro-Russia separatists has escalated in recent months—and despite objections by the U.S. and other allies—the French government had insisted the program was on track.

In July, days after the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight over Ukraine—Mr. Hollande floated the possibility that he might cancel the delivery of the second vessel, scheduled for 2015, but said Paris was forging ahead with plans to supply the first ship in October.

In possibly delaying the first delivery, French officials said they aimed to shore up the country's credibility with allies heading into this week's NATO summit, where members of the alliance are gathering in a show of unity.

Paris, for months, had defended its plans to deliver the ships as merely the fulfillment of an international contract, arguing that its possible cancellation would force France to reimburse Moscow for the costly ships and place more than a thousand French jobs at risk.

But Russia's decision to send troops and supplies into eastern Ukraine to fight alongside separatists, French officials say, raised the stakes.

While Moscow has denied sending any support to the rebels, French officials said they had proof of a Russian incursion, which they declined to disclose.

Mr. Hollande would have faced a dilemma of "coherence," one French official said, if he moved forward with the warship delivery as NATO allies were gathering to discuss ways to rein in Moscow and defend European borders.

On Tuesday, French officials called Washington and other allied capitals to notify them of the potential suspension and provide reassurances ahead of the summit, the official said. "We do think that was a wise decision," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said of France's threat to stop the warship delivery. "We certainly support their decision."

While France is weighing options, a group of about 400 Russian seamen continues training on board the first Mistral, named Vladivostok, off the French port city of Saint-Nazaire, a person familiar with the matter said.

Earlier this week, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen refrained from exercising direct pressure on Paris but said he expected shows of solidarity from members of the alliance.

"It is not for NATO as an alliance to interfere with such national decisions," Mr. Rasmussen said Monday. "Having said that, I am confident that each and every allied government will take such decisions mindful of the overall security situation and concerns expressed by fellow allies."

The two Mistral-class carriers ordered by Moscow are capable of launching helicopter, tank and missile attacks from the sea and would boost the military might of the Russian forces.

The contract is important for the French shipyard located in Saint-Nazaire on the French Atlantic Coast, which has counted on the Russian order to help stay afloat.
114  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Turkey struggles to halt jihadi highway on: September 04, 2014, 06:07:21 AM


Turkey Struggles to Halt 'Jihadist Highway'
By Ayla Albayrak and Joe Parkinson
Sept. 3, 2014 4:58 p.m. ET

Workers in April lay concrete slabs to build a wall in the Turkish town of Reyhanli to help stop jihadists and smugglers between Turkey and Syria. Cihan News Agency/Reuters

ANTAKYA, Turkey—Turkey is struggling to close a "jihadist highway" that lets foreign militants slip across its border into Syria, amid pressure from Western governments and mounting security fears at home.

Turkish forces have stepped up arrests, patrols and interrogations in recent months, but the rapid advance of Islamic State extremists in Iraq has made Ankara's initiative even more urgent, say Turkish officials, Western diplomats and residents.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama signaled an expansion of American aims in the effort to halt Islamic State, saying the U.S. would "degrade and destroy" the extremist group and turn it into "a manageable problem" with the help of international partners.

Turkey became the primary route for foreign jihadists to join Syria's civil war because of the country's easy visa policies for travel, its porous 565-mile border with Syria and its modern transportation infrastructure.

Ankara, which grew hostile to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after his deadly crackdown on protesters in 2011, also allowed foreign militants who sought to oust him to freely operate, diplomats say. Ankara has denied turning a blind eye to their presence.
Related

    Obama Signals Sharp Response to Islamic State
    Iraqi Lawmakers Back U.S. Intervention
    Disciplined Cadre Runs Islamic State
    Biden: U.S. Will Follow Islamic State to 'Gates of Hell'

With Turkey's latest policy shift, long-bearded militants once seen openly traveling to battle or receiving medical treatment here in the leafy border villages of Turkey's Hatay province have begun keeping a lower profile, residents and officials say.

They are shaving their beards, trading their baggy trousers and tunics for Western clothing and flying into tourism hubs on Turkey's Mediterranean coast rather than directly to Syria's border. Other fighters sneak into Syria through Lebanon and Jordan.

"Now we are asked questions and our bags are checked," said Mohammed Al-Ahmad, a 20-year-old former Syrian fighter with the Free Syrian Army who was returning to Turkey from a family visit in Syria. "This wouldn't have happened last year."

Limiting Turkey's ability to overtly crack down on jihadists is the Islamic State's June kidnapping of 49 Turkish diplomats and their families in Mosul, Iraq, U.S. officials and people close to the Turkish government say. Turkish officials declined to comment on the hostages' status after the government in June banned domestic media from reporting on the issue.

American and European officials have for two years repeatedly urged Turkey's government to tighten its border policy and to be more discriminating over which rebel factions they were helping, diplomats say.

In response, Turkish officials have complained that their Western partners have failed to provide adequate intelligence on suspects, hindering Turkey's effort.

Still, in recent months, Ankara has moved more forcefully to shut down what many observers call the "jihadist highway" after reassessing the threat from Islamic State, the diplomats say.

In the eight months through August, Turkey detained or deported more than 450 foreign fighters, according to the Foreign Ministry—sometimes entire busloads of would-be fighters—more than double the 2013 total.

Turkish security forces have also launched operations to choke off smuggling routes that have helped fighters reach the battlefield and provided a market for Islamic State to sell oil from the territories it controls across the frontier.

"There has been a clear shift in policy after Turkey turned a blind eye to those crossing to Syria since 2011," said Sinan Ulgen, a former Turkish diplomat who chairs the Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies in Istanbul.

Turkey's effort follows the rapid and brutal advance of Islamic State in its effort to establish a self-styled Islamist nation in the Arab world's heart and on Turkey's southern frontier. Islamic State's growth has prompted Ankara and its Western allies to step up intelligence sharing and security cooperation.

Their tactics were brutally spotlighted last month by the beheading of American journalist James Foley, his killer's London accent apparently identifying him as one of an estimated 500 Britons believed to have joined the jihadists. The group on Tuesday released a video showing the beheading of a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff.

But Ankara concedes that its intensified efforts aren't airtight, with these Turkish borderlands remaining a way station for aspiring militant fighters and exposing Turkey to potential Islamic State attacks. Some fighters are using the daily Syrian refugee flows across the border as camouflage.

"The border security has been increased, but the border cannot be taken under control only by military and police measures," Lutfu Savas, Antakya's mayor said on Wednesday. "It's not just the ISIS, there are many illegal groups here in Hatay and other provinces. These groups have within the past couple of years learned the border geography better than we now do."

Thousands of foreign fighters from countries including Turkey, Britain, Europe and the U.S. have joined Islamic State's ranks in its self-proclaimed caliphate, say Western diplomats and Turkish officials.

The vast majority hail from Saudi Arabia and North Africa, according to Turkish and Saudi officials. The countries are concerned the jihadists will return to their home countries to wreak havoc.

Turkish officials say that makes it even more important for Western nations to provide names and data on suspects so Ankara can stop them at airports of entry rather than the far more difficult task of trying to locate people along the border with Syria.

"The threat is very serious," a Turkey foreign-ministry official said. "Countries are worried about a couple of hundred people returning but we have all of them accumulating here. This is why we are ringing alarm bells."

Turkey's allies and foes have criticized it for a policy of aiding and sheltering some Syrian rebel groups aiming to topple Mr. Assad.

Turkish officials say that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed a "zero tolerance" policy against al Qaeda-linked groups in November and that the government designated the Islamic State's precursor a terrorist group as long ago as 2005.

Evidence of Ankara's recently stepped-up efforts can be seen at strategic points along Turkey's meandering border with Syria. Turkish police now confront and question men at Hatay Airport, especially targeting those arriving by direct flights from Saudi Arabia, witnesses say.

Turkey requires no visas for travelers coming for short holidays from Middle Eastern countries and the European Union.

Scrutiny has increased at Turkey's busiest border gates, Cilvegozu in Hatay province and Oncupinar in neighboring Gaziantep province, the most-used crossing to reach Aleppo, Syria's largest city and the site of several rebel bands including Islamic State. Only three of 13 border gates between Syria and Turkey are now fully open, a Turkish official said, with foreign nationals allowed to pass through only two of them.

"I recognize them just by their looks," one Turkish military policeman said of the foreign fighters as he guarded a border village that officials raided last month to halt smuggling. "We stopped and captured a Russian man in his 20s, as he was returning from Syria. He was detained and deported after he failed to show us his documents."

—Adam Entous in Washington contributed to this article.
115  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: September 04, 2014, 06:02:37 AM
second post of the morning:

Though this is the WSJ, I am not wild about the reporter's description of things.  Nonetheless , , ,

Iraqi Lawmakers Back U.S. Intervention
By Matt Bradley
WSJ
Sept. 3, 2014 2:48 p.m. ET

BAGHDAD—Iraqi politicians appeared to unite Wednesday around hopes that the U.S. would intervene more forcefully to fight Islamic State militants in the country after Islamist insurgents released a video showing the beheading of a second American journalist.  (Allow me to rewrite this:  The same Shias who demanded us to leave and fuct up what we left them by their political and military treatment of the Sunnis and whose army ran away from a FAR smaller force and abandoned the vast armament now in the hands of ISIL, want us to bail their collective ass out without putting their names to the request-- so Iran won't have to do it.)


Nearly three years after Iraqi politicians hurried the last U.S. troops out of Iraq in December 2011 following a nearly decadelong occupation, the brutality of the Islamist insurgency brought a rare consensus calling for U.S. intervention from across the country's typically divided political spectrum.

Even those politicians who recently called for America's departure are now urging U.S. forces to return. Many of them hope Islamic State's Tuesday release of a videotape showing the execution of Steven Sotloff, a 31 year-old American freelance journalist who disappeared in Syria last year, will goad Americans into re-engaging in a conflict many would like to forget.

"Within one week, America would be able to force an end to terrorism in Iraq," said Hakim Al Zamili, an Iraqi politician from a bloc allied with Moqtada Al Sadr, a once viscerally anti-American Shiite cleric, in an interview.

Mr. Zamili, who spent a year and a half in American custody, acknowledged that he had helped fight the U.S. occupation. "What I hope from the American administration and Obama is that they show more seriousness in dealing with the issue of terrorism."

Yet few Iraqi leaders, particularly those within Iraq's Shiite-dominated leadership, have been eager to demand U.S. help in public or acknowledge its military role in helping with a few rare recent victories over the Islamic State. The U.S. has launched more than 100 airstrikes since President Barack Obama announced that he would crack down on Islamic State on Aug 8.

Mr. Zamili, for his part, said he hoped to see more U.S. airstrikes but cautioned against U.S. troops "declaring themselves the occupiers again." He said he was unimpressed with the American attacks so far, which he said focused on less strategic targets.

In a speech before Wednesday's parliament session, outgoing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who had pushed for the U.S. troop departure three years ago, made no reference to Mr. Sotloff's killing nor the American airstrikes that helped liberate the town of Amirli from a nearly three-month blockade last week.

The masked militant who decapitated Mr. Sotloff blamed his killing on the U.S. attacks around Amirli this week that helped Iraqi militias to end the Islamic State's siege of the town and its environs.

"The readiness of many countries of the world to support Iraq in its war against the Islamic State came because of the determination and the will of the Iraqi people," Mr. Maliki said. "If you want a real international war on terrorism, then let it begin from Iraq."

The Obama administration has made its further intervention in Iraq contingent upon political unity.

The process of forming a new government has proceeded smoothly by Iraqi standards. Lawmakers have so far largely abided by a timeline to select a new speaker of parliament, president and prime minister. That is a marked improvement over 10 months of negotiations in 2010.

Members of parliament announced on Wednesday that Haider al-Abadi, who was appointed last month to replace Mr. Maliki as the new premier, will begin the final stages of selecting a new power-sharing cabinet on Thursday—a week before the constitutional deadline.

But Iraqi politicians' rare consensus on the question of U.S. intervention belies deeper divisions among the Sunni Arabs, Shiites and ethnic Kurds that have divided Iraq's most important institutions.

Those differences were on full display during a special session of parliament on Wednesday when lawmakers heard testimony about an Islamic State massacre of Iraqi soldiers at the Camp Speicher base in June.

After interim Minister of Defense Saadun Al Dulaimi told parliament that the massacre of hundreds of mostly Shiite Iraqi troops wasn't a sectarian issue, Iraq's military spokesman, Lt. Gen. Qassim Atta, publicly contradicted him and declared that the insurgents acted with the help of local Sunni tribes.

A public bickering between a top general and the defense minister ensued.

"The most outrageous thing that I heard at the session today was what was said about the Sunni tribes, trying to give the image that they were collaborating with the Islamic State," said Dhafer Al Ani, a Sunni lawmaker, who also said he hoped to see more U.S. intervention. "The military officers just proved how weak the Iraqi army is."
116  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 40% of LA workers get minimum wage on: September 04, 2014, 05:57:31 AM
http://www.capoliticalreview.com/capoliticalnewsandviews/40-of-los-angeles-workers-paid-minimum-wage-why-california-is-in-a-depression/
117  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sole survivor of ISIL massacre on: September 04, 2014, 05:37:32 AM
An interesting read in it's own right, but catching my attention was the part about the consequences of Bush-1 standing aside while Hussein massacred Shias and Kurds after Gulf War 1 on the attitudes of the Shias in Gulf 2 and now.



http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/04/world/middleeast/surviving-isis-massacre-iraq-video.html?emc=edit_th_20140904&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=49641193&_r=0
118  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama's Curious Rage on: September 04, 2014, 05:14:39 AM


http://online.wsj.com/articles/bret-stephens-obamas-curious-rage-1409610734?tesla=y

GLOBAL VIEW
Obama's Curious Rage
Calm when it comes to Putin, ISIS and Hamas, but furious with Israel.
 
By  BRET STEPHENS
Sept. 1, 2014 6:32 p.m. ET

Barack Obama "has become 'enraged' at the Israeli government, both for its actions and for its treatment of his chief diplomat, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. " So reports the Jerusalem Post, based on the testimony of Martin Indyk, until recently a special Middle East envoy for the president. The war in Gaza, Mr. Indyk adds, has had "a very negative impact" on Jerusalem's relations with Washington.

Think about this. Enraged. Not "alarmed" or "concerned" or "irritated" or even "angered." Anger is a feeling. Rage is a frenzy. Anger passes. Rage feeds on itself. Anger is specific. Rage is obsessional, neurotic.

And Mr. Obama—No Drama Obama, the president who prides himself on his cool, a man whose emotional detachment is said to explain his intellectual strength—is enraged. With Israel. Which has just been hit by several thousand unguided rockets and 30-odd terror tunnels, a 50-day war, the forced closure of its one major airport, accusations of "genocide" by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, anti-Semitic protests throughout Europe, general condemnation across the world. This is the country that is the object of the president's rage.

Think about this some more. In the summer in which Mr. Obama became "enraged" with Israel, Islamic State terrorists seized Mosul and massacred Shiite soldiers in open pits, Russian separatists shot down a civilian jetliner, Hamas executed 18 "collaborators" in broad daylight, Bashar Assad's forces in Syria came close to encircling Aleppo with the aim of starving the city into submission, a brave American journalist had his throat slit on YouTube by a British jihadist, Russian troops openly invaded Ukraine, and Chinese jets harassed U.S. surveillance planes over international waters.

Mr. Obama or his administration responded to these events with varying degrees of concern, censure and indignation. But rage?

Here, for instance, is the president in early August, talking to the New York Times's Tom Friedman about Russia and Ukraine:

"Finding an off-ramp for [ Vladimir Putin ] becomes more challenging. Having said that I think it is still possible for us, because of the effective organization that we have done with the Europeans around Ukraine, and the genuine bite that the sanctions have had on the Russian economy, for us to arrive at a fair accommodation in which Ukrainian sovereignty and independence is still recognized but there is also recognition that Ukraine does have historic ties to Russia, the majority of their trade goes to Russia, huge portions of the population are Russian speaking, and so they are not going to be severed from Russia. And if we do that a deal should be possible."
This isn't even condemnation. It's an apology. For Mr. Putin. Benjamin Netanyahu should be so lucky.

Now think about what, specifically, has enraged the president about Israel's behavior. "Its actions and its treatment of his chief diplomat."

Actions? Hamas began firing rockets at Israel in June, thereby breaking the cease-fire it had agreed to at the end of the last war, in November 2012. The latest war began in earnest on July 7 when Hamas fired some 80 rockets at Israel. "No country can accept rocket fire aimed at civilians," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the next day, "and we support Israel's right to defend itself against these vicious attacks."

On July 15 Israel accepted the terms of a cease-fire crafted by Egypt. Hamas violated it by firing 50 rockets at Israel. On July 17 Israel accepted a five-hour humanitarian cease-fire. Hamas violated it again. On July 20 Israel allowed a two-hour medical window in the neighborhood of Shujaiyeh. Hamas violated it. On July 26 Hamas announced a daylong cease-fire. It then broke its own cease-fire. On July 28 Israel agreed to a cease-fire for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. The rocket attacks continued. On Aug. 1 Israel accepted a 72-hour cease-fire proposed by the U.S. Hamasviolated it within 90 minutes. On Aug. 5 Israel agreed to Egypt's terms for another three-day cease-fire. Hamas violated it several hours before it was set to expire, after Israel announced it would agree to an extension.

If Hamas had honored any of these cease-fires it could have saved Palestinian lives. It didn't. Mr. Obama is enraged—but not with Hamas.

As for Israel's supposed ill-treatment of Mr. Kerry, the president should read Ben Birnbaum's and Amir Tibon's account of his secretary's Mideast misadventures in the July 20 issue of the New Republic. It's a portrait of a diplomat with the skills and style, but not the success, of Inspector Clouseau. Mr. Obama might also read Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit's assessment of Mr. Kerry's diplomacy: "The Obama administration," he wrote in July, "proved once again that it is the best friend of its enemies, and the biggest enemy of its friends."

Both Haaretz and the New Republic are left-wing publications, sympathetic to Mr. Obama's intentions, if not his methods.

Still, the president is enraged. At Israel. What a guy.

Write to bstephens@wsj.com
119  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / California rejects background checks for ammo buyers on: September 04, 2014, 04:37:52 AM
http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-california-lawmakers-reject-background-checks-for-ammo-buyers-20140828-story.html
120  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Rest in Peace RIP R.I.P. on: September 03, 2014, 11:22:55 PM
Dang!  How old was he?

Who is the heir to the system now?
121  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Where have the illegal children and students gone? on: September 03, 2014, 11:21:38 PM
Where Have the Immigrant Children and Students Gone?
 

Thomas Jefferson once said, “A country with no border is not a country.” It was true wisdom.

In the 1950s the United States had an immigration policy that maintained national security and unity in a country of peoples with hundreds of different nationalities, races and ethnicities. The system did largely favor immigrants of Western nations, but a nation has an absolute right to decide who immigrates within its borders. If citizens want to change immigration policy, so be it. But what citizens want and what they get are two very different things in Washington, DC.

In 1965 Ted Kennedy arose to do the Democrat thing and fundamentally transform America with his proposed immigration bill. He denied his intentions vigorously: “Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same. ... [T]he bill will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area. ... [The] ethnic pattern of immigration is not expected to change as sharply as critics think.”

That bill became the first in a series of immigration “reform” bills that passed and gave us our present rancorous multicultural society.

Sixty-five years later, with a population far more than “substantially” changed, we face critical, urgent problems caused by unrestrained immigration that must be solved soon if we are to remain a nation. We offer two examples.

First, even after the lessons of 9/11, government has failed to sufficiently track student visas, and some recipients simply disappear before or after their visas expire. Last year alone 58,000 failed to leave when required, and of that group, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is trying to find 6,000 considered to be of “heightened concern.”

Between 2003 and 2012 the number of students on visas nearly doubled, climbing from 663,000 to 1.2 million. It now exceeds a million per year. And virtually any kind of school qualifies: beauty school, massage school and, yes, flight school, a third of which have no FAA certification.

One school with four campuses remains in operation even though five top executives have been indicted for visa fraud. The indictment charges that 80% of enrolled foreign students had delinquent attendance, which the school failed to report. The execs pled not guilty.

The ICE official in charge of investigating student visa violations said ICE has no choice but to allow the school to continue facilitating student visas, explaining, “[T]his is the United States of America and everyone has due process.”

Second, where are the thousands of illegal alien children who continue entering our country? Some in the government know, but ABC News could not get an answer. The Department of Health and Human Services website says, “We cannot release information about individual children that could compromise the child’s location or identity.”

Not compromising illegal aliens’ identity now takes precedence over not compromising national security. Remember, many of those “children” are in their late teens or early 20s. Some belong to either of the two most dangerous Latino gangs that have been recruiting heavily at detention centers. Plus there’s no way of knowing how many terrorists have infiltrated our nation after Barack Obama’s emasculation of the Border Patrol and the laughable performance of ICE.

Reportedly, more than 100 shelters are spread throughout the country to house children, and more are going up. Additionally, more than 37,000 children have been released to relatives or sponsors. How many of the relatives are here illegally themselves?

One private social welfare organization refused $50 million for housing children to avoid “negative backlash.” Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) did the math, and it comes to a cool $166,000 annually per child.

Even members of Congress can’t get information out of the administration, a typical Obama game.

Bottom line: Wherever these kids land, local costs rise immensely. By law they are entitled to health and social services as well as education, meaning bursting hospitals, welfare rolls and classrooms. Adding kids who can’t speak English, and are probably illiterate in their own language, will require more specialized teachers. It’s too bad the full costs won’t hit before November.

Finally, what’s going on at the border now? Certainly the influx of illegals hasn’t ended, but ISIL beheadings and Vladimir Putin’s adventures are front page now. The alien invasion is old news.

We’ve seen much of what Obama meant by “fundamentally transforming” America, but with almost two-and-a-half years remaining in his presidency, it looks like we ain’t seen nothing yet.
122  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / About fg time! What about the other one? What about CANCELLING both?!? on: September 03, 2014, 11:13:08 PM


France will halt its delivery of the first of two Mistral amphibious assault ships to Russia in response to Russia's involvement in the crisis in Ukraine, a Sept. 3 statement from French President Francois Hollande said, Reuters reported. France had been reluctant to halt the sale of the ships because the contract with Russia was worth $1.58 billion.

Stratfor

 
123  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / AQ-India on: September 03, 2014, 10:49:51 PM
Hat tip to our YA:


Looks like AQ is feeling envious of ISIS, what with all the beheadings...
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Al-Qaida-announces-India-wing-renews-loyalty-to-Taliban-chief/articleshow/41640746.cms

This branch of AQ will be for south asia...
124  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Potential New Dangers in the US-Russian Standoff on: September 03, 2014, 10:42:30 PM


 Potential New Dangers Emerge in the U.S.-Russian Standoff
Geopolitical Diary
Wednesday, September 3, 2014 - 17:48 Text Size Print

The United States and Russia entered a new and more dangerous phase of their pseudo-Cold War this week.

On the surface, it might appear the opposite. Just as U.S. President Barack Obama tried to reassure Europeans on the frontline with Russia that NATO would be there to support them, Russian President Vladimir Putin threw out an expertly timed proposal to defuse the crisis in eastern Ukraine and even compelled Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to claim a cease-fire agreement had been achieved after a phone call with the Russian leader.

The reality of the situation is that Russia is trying to impose on Kiev and its Western backers yet another frozen conflict on the Russian doorstep, one that Moscow will use to demand respect from a still-defiant United States on the contours of a Russian sphere of influence. In just under three weeks, Russian-backed forces blunted a deep Ukrainian thrust into separatist strongholds. Though Ukrainian forces had plenty of political support from the West, the United States and its NATO partners had much more to risk in putting boots on the ground than did Russia, which was barely cloaking the heavy armor and personnel pouring across the border.

What is a Geopolitical Diary? George Friedman Explains.

This rapid turnaround on the battlefield had two main purposes. The first was to assert Russian military power and convince the West that Moscow would not be afraid to use it in spite of the economic consequences. The second was for Moscow to use its military gains to make it appear that the West was utterly irresponsible in trying to wrest Ukraine out from Moscow's shadow. Now, by dangling an ambiguous cease-fire before the Americans, Russia is essentially telling the United States that to defeat Russia it must fight Russia directly, knowing that NATO is loath to engage directly with the Russian military. And if the West is still unwilling to confront Russia in a direct military conflict, then Russia is quite ready to make a deal.

That deal goes well beyond a cease-fire. Russia wants its buffer in Ukraine recognized and respected, along with sanctions lifted so it can get on with repairing its economy. And with winter approaching, Russia also has the means to turn the screws on Europe's natural gas supply at the same time it holds a clear military advantage on the Ukrainian battlefield.

But the United States is not about to back down completely in the face of Putin's maneuver. Obama arrived in Estonia on Wednesday with a message of commitment, loyalty and security for any country threatened by Russia. To reinforce that message, NATO will attempt to breathe new life and purpose into the institution by creating a 4,000-strong rapid-reaction force capable of deploying at 48 hours' notice to Eastern European countries on the frontline with Russia. This will not amount to the permanent force that these countries are hoping for, but it is a structural reorientation of NATO's mission to stare down Russia once again after a nearly 25-year hiatus. Military exercises to get this message across will follow, and Obama himself provocatively said Wednesday that the door to NATO would remain open to new members, hinting at Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. Even if the United States cannot get a unanimous NATO vote to admit these countries, with or without the Europeans, the United States will continue to exploit other means to integrate them into a U.S.-backed defense alliance against Russia.

This, of course, will draw a Russian response in the form of military exercises and redeployments on the western frontier, all while Ukraine remains a useful battleground for Moscow to pressure Kiev. However, this confrontation will not be limited to Ukraine. The key for Russia will be to demonstrate to the West that Russia is not afraid to resort to the unthinkable, even the irrational, in pushing back. Russia announced Wednesday that its strategic nuclear forces will be holding large-scale strategic missile exercises in September. Putin over the weekend also told a youth forum, "I want to remind you that Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations. This is a reality, not just words."

Many will initially dismiss Russia's rattling the nuclear saber, but taking a page from its Cold War playbook, Russia could, as an example, arrange to have U.S. technical intelligence pick up the movement of tactical nuclear warheads, allow for a couple of newspaper leaks impossible to trace back and deny, deny, deny. This would be a signal that no U.S. leader could dismiss. We have no evidence to suggest Russia is planning such steps, but we suspect that the nuclear threat is an option that Putin is closely evaluating and one that would certainly give the United States pause.

Read more: Potential New Dangers Emerge in the U.S.-Russian Standoff | Stratfor
Follow us: @stratfor on Twitter | Stratfor on Facebook
125  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 9/21/2014 Dog Brothers Open Gathering of the Pack on: September 03, 2014, 02:34:34 PM
11: Tony "C-Taz Dog" Caruso

12: Alvin Jasper Rigior (sp?)

13: Paul Trout


126  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Did we train ISIL? on: September 03, 2014, 02:16:31 PM
Posted June 30, 2014

http://guardianlv.com/2014/06/isis-trained-by-us-government/
127  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Winning the Latino Vote on: September 03, 2014, 11:12:25 AM
RIGHT ANALYSIS
How Conservatives Can Win the Hearts and Minds of Hispanics and Women
 

The Left has a perceived monopoly on female and Hispanic voters. After all, it has its "war on women" refrain and the push for amnesty for illegal immigrants. Leftists proclaim the government gospel for the common man, and in so doing, they have won the hearts and minds of the downtrodden -- or so they assume.
The conservative movement needs to rebrand and return to its core values to snatch this near-victory from the Left.

Examine the numbers and it appears the Democrat Party has picked the demographics to pander to in order to win for generations to come. Women outnumber men in this country 161 million to 156.1 million, and women are more likely to vote, with 63.7% of them voting in the election that gave Barack Obama his second term. The turnout for men was 59.7%.

The Hispanic population has climbed steadily since the 1970s. There are now 54 million Hispanics in the U.S. In the next 30 years, whites will become a minority, something that probably leaves the Left tickled pink because 78% of Obama's support came from minority groups. Indeed, Pew Research Center said the Hispanic population surpassed the white population in California this year.

These numbers appear likely to produce long-term wins for Democrats, but demographics this large fracture into subgroups that conservatives can reach with their message. In essence, conservatives should take advantage of the Democrats' own divide and conquer strategy, winning those who are receptive to Liberty. Not all women want the Left's version of "reproductive rights." Not all Hispanics are illegal immigrants or wards of the state.

Mike Gonzalez, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, believes if conservatives vigorously reach out to Latinos, they can find allies in the Hispanic community. He recently released a book about his fellow Hispanics called "A Race for the Future: How Conservatives Can Break the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans."
"Nobody came here to be Balkanized into different neighborhoods," Gonzalez said. "They came here to succeed."

Mexican culture has been with America from the beginning. Mexicans lived inside Texas when it was incorporated into the rest of the states, for example. The tortilla is just as American as hamburger (German), pizza (Italian) and apple pie (Dutch).

Don't think Hispanics are one homogeneous group. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. Cubans landed in Florida to escape communism.

Gonzalez said the word "Hispanic," as used to describe all people hailing from the Spanish-speaking world, only came into use in the 1970s when the government designated "Hispanics" a minority group. This time of social upheaval and the influx of Latino immigration created the heavy Democrat support found among Latinos, according to Gonzalez:

"That millions of immigrants, the majority from Latin America, began arriving just as the United States was being hit by a social and cultural tornado receives surprisingly little analysis. This whirlwind, after all, ripped up norms that had been in place for generations.  These new immigrants had no memory of what the country had been like. In the media, in schools and in entertainment, they began to hear dubious reinterpretations of America and a denigration of traditional values. For many of them, 'assimilation' meant adopting the emerging standards of a rapidly evolving country."

And Democrats have treated women in the same manner -- as ignorant dupes who can only vote Democrat. Thanks to the Left's rhetoric and polices, women view the Republican Party as "stuck in the past" and "intolerant," according to a Republican study leaked to Politico. The study found 49% of women dislike Republicans, while only 39% view Democrats with distain. But those numbers almost flip if women are married and possess a college education, with 48% supporting the GOP and 38% backing Democrats. No wonder Democrats want to destroy marriage.

R.R. Reno of First Things offered a thoughtful response to the Politico story, and an even better rebuttal to a Slate rejoinder.
Reno argues Democrats tap into women's sense of vulnerability:

"[M]y explanation of the profound difference between single and married female voters involves a final assumption: The Democratic Party is the party that promises to expand government to take care of people whose lives aren’t working out. This doesn’t mean Republicans are cold-hearted. It’s just that, for many different reasons, Republicans don’t think government can or should take care of all our needs.

"Put those assumptions together, and I have an explanation for why single women vote so heavily for Democratic candidates: Their inability to achieve a core life-goal (marriage) makes them feel vulnerable, and so they vote for the party that promises to use government to protect the vulnerable."

America has people -- the poor, immigrants, single moms -- that are vulnerable. They're afraid that if rules and regulations are thrown back, then the more powerful -- the big business, the men with fists -- will grab power in the vacuum and do harm. And how will the weak get more power without the benevolent power above that keeps them safe? They don't realize progressives need to keep them poor and weak in order to preserve their own power. The question for lovers of Liberty is this: How do we empower people to pull themselves up through hard work, to self-govern?

This is where the conservative movement must rebrand. Instead of poorly delivering the same message, hoping that minorities are convinced into voting for the same white male politicians, conservatives must embrace more diverse leadership and show that conservative policies made that advancement possible. Let's welcome female politicians who support Liberty and conservative ideals with their own unique governing style. Let's fill the school boards with concerned mothers and town councils with Latino businessmen. Then, let's unfetter the people by decentralizing the government -- kicking the power back to the local level. And we'll see who will be the party of the people.

128  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / John Adams, National Defense, 1815 on: September 03, 2014, 11:06:51 AM
"National defense is one of the cardinal duties of a statesman." --John Adams, letter to James Lloyd, 1815
129  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / ISIL entrenches in capital of Raqqah on: September 03, 2014, 10:38:10 AM
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-08-27/islamic-state-entrenches-in-syrian-city-as-obama-mulls-next-step
130  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US dependent on Russian rockets on: September 03, 2014, 09:55:45 AM
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/sep/2/us-military-dependence-on-russian-rocket-engines-r/ 
131  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: Pipelines of Empire on: September 03, 2014, 09:51:37 AM
By Robert D. Kaplan and Eugene Chausovsky

Editor's Note: With Russia, Europe and Ukraine continuing negotiations over natural gas supplies this week, Stratfor is republishing this Global Affairs column from November 2013. In addition to detailing the web of energy pipelines that connects the two landmasses, Chief Geopolitical Analyst Robert D. Kaplan and Senior Eurasia Analyst Eugene Chausovsky make the case that the relationship between Russia and Europe revolves around hydrocarbons -- and that Moscow's best option is to preserve as much of its European market share as possible.

At this juncture in history, the fate of Europe is wound up not in ideas but in geopolitics. For millennia, eruptions from Asia have determined the fate of Europe, including invasions and migrations by Russians, Turkic tribes and Byzantine Greeks. Central and Eastern Europe, with their geographical proximity to the Asian steppe and the Anatolian land bridge, have borne the brunt of these cataclysms. Today is no different, only it is far subtler. Armies are not marching; rather, hydrocarbons are flowing. For that is the modern face of Russian influence in Europe. To understand the current pressures upon Europe from the east it is necessary to draw a map of energy pipelines.
Russian-European Natural Gas Networks
Click to Enlarge

One-quarter of all energy for Europe comes from Russia, but that statistic is an average for the whole continent; thus, as one moves successively from Western Europe to Central Europe to Eastern Europe that percentage rises dramatically. Natural gas is more important than oil in this story, but let us consider oil first.

Russia is among the top oil producers worldwide and has among the largest reserves, with vast deposits in both western and eastern Siberia. Crucially, Russia is now investing in the technology necessary to preserve its position as a major energy hub for years and decades to come, though it is an open question whether current production levels can be maintained in the long term. Russia's primary gateway to Europe for oil (and natural gas) is Belarus in the north and Ukraine in the south. The Druzhba pipeline network takes Russian oil through Belarus to Poland and Germany in the north and in the south through Ukraine to Central Europe and the Balkans, as well as to Italy. Russia certainly has influence in Europe on account of its oil, and has occasionally used its oil as a means of political pressure on Belarus and Ukraine. But moving westward into Europe, negotiations over Russian oil are generally about supply and pricing, not political factors. It is really with natural gas that energy becomes a useful political tool for Russia.

Russia is, after the United States, simply the largest producer of natural gas worldwide, with trillions of cubic meters of reserves. Europe gets 25 percent of its natural gas from Russia, though, again, that figure rises dramatically in Central and Eastern Europe; generally, the closer a country is to Russia, the more dependent it is on Russian natural gas. Central Europe (with the exception of Romania, which has its own reserves) draws roughly 70 percent of the natural gas it consumes from Russia. Belarus, Bulgaria and the Baltic states depend on Russia for 90-100 percent of their natural gas needs. Russia has used this dependence to influence these states' decision-making, offering beneficial terms to states that cooperate with Moscow, while charging higher prices and occasionally cutting off supplies altogether to those that don't. This translates into real geopolitical power, even if the Warsaw Pact no longer exists.

The Yamal pipeline system brings Russian natural gas to Poland and Germany via Belarus. The Blue Stream pipeline network brings Russian natural gas to Turkey. Nord Stream, which was completed in 2011, brings Russian natural gas directly to Germany via the Baltic Sea, cutting out the need for a Belarus-Poland land route. Thus, Belarus and Poland now have less leverage over Russia, even as they are mainly dependent on Russia for their own natural gas supplies by way of separate pipelines.

The next major geopolitical piece in this massive network is the proposed South Stream pipeline. South Stream would transport Russian natural gas across the Black Sea to Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Austria, with another line running to Italy via the Balkans and the Adriatic. South Stream could make Central Europe and the Balkans more dependent on Russia, even as Russia does not require Ukraine for the project. This, combined with Nord Stream, helps Russia tighten its grip on Ukraine.

But there is also Caspian Sea oil and natural gas to consider, particularly from Azerbaijan, which inhibits Russia's monopoly. Oil and natural gas pipelines built with the help of Western energy companies in the 2000s bring energy from the Azerbaijani capital of Baku through Georgia to Turkey and onwards to Europe. Furthermore, the Nabucco pipeline network has the potential to bring Caspian Sea natural gas across the Caucasus and Turkey all the way to Austria, with spur lines coming from Iraq and Iran. Obviously, this is a complex and politically fraught project that has not materialized. Winning out over Nabucco has been the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), a far less ambitious network that will bring Azerbaijani natural gas across Turkey to Greece and Italy. Because TAP avoids Central Europe and the Balkans, its selection over Nabucco constitutes a clear victory for Russia, which wants Central and Eastern Europe dependent on it and not on Azerbaijan for energy. In fact, Russian political pressure was a factor in TAP's victory over Nabucco.

The real long-term threat to Russian influence in Europe comes less from Azerbaijan than from the building of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals. These are facilities located on coastlines that convert LNG back to natural gas after it has been liquefied to enable transport across seas and oceans. With an LNG terminal, a country is less dependent on pipelines emanating from Russia. Poland and Lithuania are building such terminals on the Baltic Sea and Croatia wants to build one on the Adriatic. The Visegrad countries of Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have been building pipeline interconnectors, in part to integrate with -- and take advantage of -- these Baltic terminals. This LNG comes from many sources, including North Africa, the Middle East and North America. That is why Russia is deeply concerned about vast shale gas discoveries in the United States and elsewhere in Europe -- natural gas that could eventually be exported with the help of LNG terminals to Central and Eastern Europe.

Russia is also worried about the European Union's attempt to break its energy monopoly through legal means. According to new legislation known as the Third Energy Package, which is still in the process of being implemented, one energy company cannot be responsible for production, distribution and sales, because the European Union defines that as a monopoly. And such monopolistic practices actually describe Russian energy companies like Gazprom. If the European Union gets its way, Russian corporate control will be unbundled.

Therefore, we forecast that Russia's use of energy to extract political concessions will weaken over time, but will nevertheless remain formidable in parts of Central and Eastern Europe. While energy has served as an effective tool for Russia to wield political influence in Europe, Moscow is first and foremost concerned about maintaining the revenue from energy exports that has become so crucial for Russia's own budget and economic stability. In this sense, maintaining European market share (and further developing market share in Asia) takes precedence over political manipulation for Moscow.

Consequently, Russia will have to become even more subtle and sophisticated in the way that it deals with its former Soviet republics and Warsaw Pact satellites.

Read more: Pipelines of Empire | Stratfor
Follow us: @stratfor on Twitter | Stratfor on Facebook
132  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Three things to do right now on: September 03, 2014, 09:40:07 AM
http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/09/02/here_are_three_steps_we_should_take_in_response_to_putins_invasion_of_ukraine?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Flashpoints&utm_campaign=2014_FlashPoints%20[Manual]-test-sept2
133  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Pena Nieto's State of the Union on: September 03, 2014, 08:30:49 AM
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's state of the union address Tuesday offered key insights into Mexico's direction over the next few years. Among the high points of the speech were reforms in the Mexican energy sector that ended the state's monopoly on hydrocarbons production. Pena Nieto's speech also touted reductions in the nation's homicide rate over the past year.

With the legislative hurdles cleared, Mexico will use the next few years to implement reforms achieved in 2013 and 2014. The energy reform in particular portends an increase in Mexican oil output and government revenue over the next decade. Mexico will also continue using federal authorities, including the newly formed gendarmerie, to counter the violence generated by organized crime. However, these are short-term political moves in Mexico's larger geopolitical narrative, in which Mexico's economic future will remain inextricably connected to the United States, and Mexico City will continue searching for ways to mitigate ongoing competition between drug trafficking organizations.

To a large degree, Pena Nieto will focus his presidency on maintaining the steady economic growth of the past 20 years. Since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, Mexico's real gross domestic product climbed by about $383 billion to more than $1 trillion. This growth, which placed Mexico second in Latin America in terms of GDP and 15th in the world, primarily rose due to the advantages gained by Mexico's proximity to the United States. Mexico has defined its economic strategy around these advantages, which include short transport distances to the world's largest consumer market and Mexico's relatively low wages compared with the United States -- low wages that have spurred investment into manufacturing (with the United States being a leading investor) for decades. NAFTA accelerated this trend, and nearly 80 percent of Mexican exports worth some $300 billion went directly to the United States in 2013. Although Mexico is attempting to eliminate tariff barriers with like-minded trading partners in the burgeoning Pacific Alliance, its trade flows will remain overwhelmingly focused on its neighbor to the north.

What is a Geopolitical Diary? George Friedman Explains.

This long-term economic focus northward will define Mexico's immediate economic moves. Over the next several years, Mexico will continue building out its natural gas pipeline network to take advantage of the U.S. role as a major natural gas producer and supply Mexico's growing industrial base and electricity generation. Because the pipelines that import U.S. natural gas into Mexico are operating near full capacity, Mexico will add three additional pipelines to its grid over the next two years. Mexican state-owned energy firm Petroleos Mexicanos is planning five additional pipelines in upcoming years. Together, these lines will add nearly 55.9 billion cubic meters per year to Mexico's existing pipeline import capacity.

Mexico will also focus heavily on implementing the centerpiece of its reform drive, namely, energy reform. Much of Pena Nieto's political legacy rests on successfully securing meaningful foreign investment into Mexico's oil sector. To this end, the government will auction 169 oil blocks in May 2015. There are growing indications that Pemex is willing to make the necessary moves to restructure the firm to become more competitive. A successful auction is unlikely to bear fruit until several years down the road, but it would set Mexico's deteriorated oil sector on the path toward recovery.

Pena Nieto will also continue dealing with the ongoing violence from Mexico's drug war, an unwelcome inheritance from his predecessor, Felipe Calderon. Mexico remains one of the last destinations in the cocaine supply chain to the lucrative U.S. market, and this role will not change soon. Despite rising cocaine traffic through the Caribbean, the vast majority of cocaine shipments from South America still pass through Mexico -- and thus into the hands of the numerous drug trafficking organizations competing there for dominance over supply routes northward. This violence, which spiked sharply in the years after Calderon sent federal forces directly after drug trafficking organizations in 2006, has remained a challenge for the Mexican government. The government will continue to try to contain the violence associated with criminal competition, and the U.S. interest in stemming the flow of drugs through the U.S. border is unlikely to wane in the coming years.

Despite a major U.S. interest in countering drug flows north, Mexico will likely enjoy significantly less success on the security front. There are simply too many people within criminal organizations and institutions benefiting from the drug trade for its effects to be reduced through law enforcement pressure alone. Although several major drug traffickers were captured during Pena Nieto's term, including Sinaloa Federation leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera and Los Zetas leader Miguel "Z-40" Trevino Morales, the elements remain in place for continued cartel wars across Mexico. The lucrative profit margins available to Mexican drug traffickers will keep spurring competition over supply routes and gateways into the United States. Though the names of individuals and organizations involved in the trade over the next several years will change, the overall dynamic of drug trafficking organizations exporting cocaine, heroin and marijuana into the United States will not. With local police forces highly penetrated by narcotics traffickers, Pena Nieto will continue to rely on the military and other federal security bodies to stem ongoing violence, but setting up lasting law enforcement institutions will prove elusive.

Despite its lasting role in the drug trade, Mexico's future for the remainder of Pena Nieto's tenure looks bright. Reductions in U.S. consumer demand notwithstanding, the country is well-positioned to continue to benefit from high levels of foreign direct investment and trade with the United States. If successful, the energy reform will provide significant revenue flows for both the central government and private firms by the decade's end. Overall, Mexico is set to continue its trajectory toward securing its position as a Latin American economic power.

Read more: The Mexican President's State of the Union Suggests a Bright Future | Stratfor
Follow us: @stratfor on Twitter | Stratfor on Facebook
134  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Pena Nieto's State of the Union on: September 03, 2014, 08:29:30 AM
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's state of the union address Tuesday offered key insights into Mexico's direction over the next few years. Among the high points of the speech were reforms in the Mexican energy sector that ended the state's monopoly on hydrocarbons production. Pena Nieto's speech also touted reductions in the nation's homicide rate over the past year.

With the legislative hurdles cleared, Mexico will use the next few years to implement reforms achieved in 2013 and 2014. The energy reform in particular portends an increase in Mexican oil output and government revenue over the next decade. Mexico will also continue using federal authorities, including the newly formed gendarmerie, to counter the violence generated by organized crime. However, these are short-term political moves in Mexico's larger geopolitical narrative, in which Mexico's economic future will remain inextricably connected to the United States, and Mexico City will continue searching for ways to mitigate ongoing competition between drug trafficking organizations.

To a large degree, Pena Nieto will focus his presidency on maintaining the steady economic growth of the past 20 years. Since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, Mexico's real gross domestic product climbed by about $383 billion to more than $1 trillion. This growth, which placed Mexico second in Latin America in terms of GDP and 15th in the world, primarily rose due to the advantages gained by Mexico's proximity to the United States. Mexico has defined its economic strategy around these advantages, which include short transport distances to the world's largest consumer market and Mexico's relatively low wages compared with the United States -- low wages that have spurred investment into manufacturing (with the United States being a leading investor) for decades. NAFTA accelerated this trend, and nearly 80 percent of Mexican exports worth some $300 billion went directly to the United States in 2013. Although Mexico is attempting to eliminate tariff barriers with like-minded trading partners in the burgeoning Pacific Alliance, its trade flows will remain overwhelmingly focused on its neighbor to the north.

What is a Geopolitical Diary? George Friedman Explains.

This long-term economic focus northward will define Mexico's immediate economic moves. Over the next several years, Mexico will continue building out its natural gas pipeline network to take advantage of the U.S. role as a major natural gas producer and supply Mexico's growing industrial base and electricity generation. Because the pipelines that import U.S. natural gas into Mexico are operating near full capacity, Mexico will add three additional pipelines to its grid over the next two years. Mexican state-owned energy firm Petroleos Mexicanos is planning five additional pipelines in upcoming years. Together, these lines will add nearly 55.9 billion cubic meters per year to Mexico's existing pipeline import capacity.

Mexico will also focus heavily on implementing the centerpiece of its reform drive, namely, energy reform. Much of Pena Nieto's political legacy rests on successfully securing meaningful foreign investment into Mexico's oil sector. To this end, the government will auction 169 oil blocks in May 2015. There are growing indications that Pemex is willing to make the necessary moves to restructure the firm to become more competitive. A successful auction is unlikely to bear fruit until several years down the road, but it would set Mexico's deteriorated oil sector on the path toward recovery.

Pena Nieto will also continue dealing with the ongoing violence from Mexico's drug war, an unwelcome inheritance from his predecessor, Felipe Calderon. Mexico remains one of the last destinations in the cocaine supply chain to the lucrative U.S. market, and this role will not change soon. Despite rising cocaine traffic through the Caribbean, the vast majority of cocaine shipments from South America still pass through Mexico -- and thus into the hands of the numerous drug trafficking organizations competing there for dominance over supply routes northward. This violence, which spiked sharply in the years after Calderon sent federal forces directly after drug trafficking organizations in 2006, has remained a challenge for the Mexican government. The government will continue to try to contain the violence associated with criminal competition, and the U.S. interest in stemming the flow of drugs through the U.S. border is unlikely to wane in the coming years.

Despite a major U.S. interest in countering drug flows north, Mexico will likely enjoy significantly less success on the security front. There are simply too many people within criminal organizations and institutions benefiting from the drug trade for its effects to be reduced through law enforcement pressure alone. Although several major drug traffickers were captured during Pena Nieto's term, including Sinaloa Federation leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera and Los Zetas leader Miguel "Z-40" Trevino Morales, the elements remain in place for continued cartel wars across Mexico. The lucrative profit margins available to Mexican drug traffickers will keep spurring competition over supply routes and gateways into the United States. Though the names of individuals and organizations involved in the trade over the next several years will change, the overall dynamic of drug trafficking organizations exporting cocaine, heroin and marijuana into the United States will not. With local police forces highly penetrated by narcotics traffickers, Pena Nieto will continue to rely on the military and other federal security bodies to stem ongoing violence, but setting up lasting law enforcement institutions will prove elusive.

Despite its lasting role in the drug trade, Mexico's future for the remainder of Pena Nieto's tenure looks bright. Reductions in U.S. consumer demand notwithstanding, the country is well-positioned to continue to benefit from high levels of foreign direct investment and trade with the United States. If successful, the energy reform will provide significant revenue flows for both the central government and private firms by the decade's end. Overall, Mexico is set to continue its trajectory toward securing its position as a Latin American economic power.

Read more: The Mexican President's State of the Union Suggests a Bright Future | Stratfor
Follow us: @stratfor on Twitter | Stratfor on Facebook
135  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cyberwar and American Freedom on: September 03, 2014, 07:51:29 AM
 shocked shocked shocked  What is our take on the implications there?
136  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chicago to pay NRA again on: September 03, 2014, 07:45:44 AM
http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/ed8ad5eb#/ed8ad5eb/65
137  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / A Black Sea Strategy on: September 02, 2014, 10:58:16 PM
 Ukraine, Iraq and a Black Sea Strategy
Geopolitical Weekly
Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - 03:00 Print Text Size
Stratfor

By George Friedman

The United States is, at the moment, off balance. It faces challenges in the Syria-Iraq theater as well as challenges in Ukraine. It does not have a clear response to either. It does not know what success in either theater would look like, what resources it is prepared to devote to either, nor whether the consequences of defeat would be manageable.

A dilemma of this sort is not unusual for a global power. Its very breadth of interests and the extent of power create opportunities for unexpected events, and these events, particularly simultaneous challenges in different areas, create uncertainty and confusion. U.S. geography and power permit a degree of uncertainty without leading to disaster, but generating a coherent and integrated strategy is necessary, even if that strategy is simply to walk away and let events run their course. I am not suggesting the latter strategy but arguing that at a certain point, confusion must run its course and clear intentions must emerge. When they do, the result will be the coherence of a new strategic map that encompasses both conflicts.

The most critical issue for the United States is to create a single integrated plan that takes into account the most pressing challenges. Such a plan must begin by defining a theater of operations sufficiently coherent geographically as to permit integrated political maneuvering and military planning. U.S. military doctrine has moved explicitly away from a two-war strategy. Operationally, it might not be possible to engage all adversaries simultaneously, but conceptually, it is essential to think in terms of a coherent center of gravity of operations. For me, it is increasingly clear that that center is the Black Sea.
Ukraine and Syria-Iraq

There are currently two active theaters of military action with broad potential significance. One is Ukraine, where the Russians have launched a counteroffensive toward Crimea. The other is in the Syria-Iraq region, where the forces of the Islamic State have launched an offensive designed at a minimum to control regions in both countries -- and at most dominate the area between the Levant and Iran.

In most senses, there is no connection between these two theaters. Yes, the Russians have an ongoing problem in the high Caucasus and there are reports of Chechen advisers working with the Islamic State. In this sense, the Russians are far from comfortable with what is happening in Syria and Iraq. At the same time, anything that diverts U.S. attention from Ukraine is beneficial to the Russians. For its part, the Islamic State must oppose Russia in the long run. Its immediate problem, however, is U.S. power, so anything that distracts the United States is beneficial to the Islamic State.

But the Ukrainian crisis has a very different political dynamic from the Iraq-Syria crisis. Russian and Islamic State military forces are not coordinated in any way, and in the end, victory for either would challenge the interests of the other. But for the United States, which must allocate its attention, political will and military power carefully, the two crises must be thought of together. The Russians and the Islamic State have the luxury of focusing on one crisis. The United States must concern itself with both and reconcile them.

The United States has been in the process of limiting its involvement in the Middle East while attempting to deal with the Ukrainian crisis. The Obama administration wants to create an integrated Iraq devoid of jihadists and have Russia accept a pro-Western Ukraine. It also does not want to devote substantial military forces to either theater. Its dilemma is how to achieve its goals without risk. If it can't do this, what risk will it accept or must it accept?

Strategies that minimize risk and create maximum influence are rational and should be a founding principle of any country. By this logic, the U.S. strategy ought to be to maintain the balance of power in a region using proxies and provide material support to those proxies but avoid direct military involvement until there is no other option. The most important thing is to provide the support that obviates the need for intervention.

In the Syria-Iraq theater, the United States moved from a strategy of seeking a unified state under secular pro-Western forces to one seeking a balance of power between the Alawites and jihadists. In Iraq, the United States pursued a unified government under Baghdad and is now trying to contain the Islamic State using minimal U.S. forces and Kurdish, Shiite and some Sunni proxies. If that fails, the U.S. strategy in Iraq will devolve into the strategy in Syria, namely, seeking a balance of power between factions. It is not clear that another strategy exists. The U.S. occupation of Iraq that began in 2003 did not result in a military solution, and it is not clear that a repeat of 2003 would succeed either. Any military action must be taken with a clear outcome in mind and a reasonable expectation that the allocation of forces will achieve that outcome; wishful thinking is not permitted. Realistically, air power and special operations forces on the ground are unlikely to force the Islamic State to capitulate or to result in its dissolution.

Ukraine, of course, has a different dynamic. The United States saw the events in Ukraine as either an opportunity for moral posturing or as a strategic blow to Russian national security. Either way, it had the same result: It created a challenge to fundamental Russian interests and placed Russian President Vladimir Putin in a dangerous position. His intelligence services completely failed to forecast or manage events in Kiev or to generate a broad rising in eastern Ukraine. Moreover, the Ukrainians were defeating their supporters (with the distinction between supporters and Russian troops becoming increasingly meaningless with each passing day). But it was obvious that the Russians were not simply going to let the Ukrainian reality become a fait accompli. They would counterattack. But even so, they would still have moved from once shaping Ukrainian policy to losing all but a small fragment of Ukraine. They will therefore maintain a permanently aggressive posture in a bid to recoup what has been lost.

U.S. strategy in Ukraine tracks its strategy in Syria-Iraq. First, Washington uses proxies; second, it provides material support; and third, it avoids direct military involvement. Both strategies assume that the main adversary -- the Islamic State in Syria-Iraq and Russia in Ukraine -- is incapable of mounting a decisive offensive, or that any offensive it mounts can be blunted with air power. But to be successful, U.S. strategy assumes there will be coherent Ukrainian and Iraqi resistance to Russia and the Islamic State, respectively. If that doesn't materialize or dissolves, so does the strategy.

The United States is betting on risky allies. And the outcome matters in the long run. U.S. strategy prior to World Wars I and II was to limit involvement until the situation could be handled only with a massive American deployment. During the Cold War, the United States changed its strategy to a pre-commitment of at least some forces; this had a better outcome. The United States is not invulnerable to foreign threats, although those foreign threats must evolve dramatically. The earlier intervention was less costly than intervention at the last possible minute. Neither the Islamic State nor Russia poses such a threat to the United States, and it is very likely that the respective regional balance of power can contain them. But if they can't, the crises could evolve into a more direct threat to the United States. And shaping the regional balance of power requires exertion and taking at least some risks.
Regional Balances of Power and the Black Sea

The rational move for countries like Romania, Hungary or Poland is to accommodate Russia unless they have significant guarantees from the outside. Whether fair or not, only the United States can deliver those guarantees. The same can be said about the Shia and the Kurds, both of whom the United States has abandoned in recent years, assuming that they could manage on their own.

The issue the United States faces is how to structure such support, physically and conceptually. There appear to be two distinct and unconnected theaters, and American power is limited. The situation would seem to preclude persuasive guarantees. But U.S. strategic conception must evolve away from seeing these as distinct theaters into seeing them as different aspects of the same theater: the Black Sea.

When we look at a map, we note that the Black Sea is the geographic organizing principle of these areas. The sea is the southern frontier of Ukraine and European Russia and the Caucasus, where Russian, jihadist and Iranian power converge on the Black Sea. Northern Syria and Iraq are fewer than 650 kilometers (400 miles) from the Black Sea.

The United States has had a North Atlantic strategy. It has had a Caribbean strategy, a Western Pacific strategy and so on. This did not simply mean a naval strategy. Rather, it was understood as a combined arms system of power projection that depended on naval power to provide strategic supply, delivery of troops and air power. It also placed its forces in such a configuration that the one force, or at least command structure, could provide support in multiple directions.

The United States has a strategic problem that can be addressed either as two or more unrelated problems requiring redundant resources or a single integrated solution. It is true that the Russians and the Islamic State do not see themselves as part of a single theater. But opponents don't define theaters of operation for the United States. The first step in crafting a strategy is to define the map in a way that allows the strategist to think in terms of unity of forces rather than separation, and unity of support rather than division. It also allows the strategist to think of his regional relationships as part of an integrated strategy.

Assume for the moment that the Russians chose to intervene in the Caucasus again, that jihadists moved out of Chechnya and Dagestan into Georgia and Azerbaijan, or that Iran chose to move north. The outcome of events in the Caucasus would matter greatly to the United States. Under the current strategic structure, where U.S. decision-makers seem incapable of conceptualizing the two present strategic problems, such a third crisis would overwhelm them. But thinking in terms of securing what I'll call the Greater Black Sea Basin would provide a framework for addressing the current thought exercise. A Black Sea strategy would define the significance of Georgia, the eastern coast of the Black Sea. Even more important, it would elevate Azerbaijan to the level of importance it should have in U.S. strategy. Without Azerbaijan, Georgia has little weight. With Azerbaijan, there is a counter to jihadists in the high Caucasus, or at least a buffer, since Azerbaijan is logically the eastern anchor of the Greater Black Sea strategy.

A Black Sea strategy would also force definition of two key relationships for the United States. The first is Turkey. Russia aside, Turkey is the major native Black Sea power. It has interests throughout the Greater Black Sea Basin, namely, in Syria, Iraq, the Caucasus, Russia and Ukraine. Thinking in terms of a Black Sea strategy, Turkey becomes one of the indispensible allies since its interests touch American interests. Aligning U.S. and Turkish strategy would be a precondition for such a strategy, meaning both nations would have to make serious policy shifts. An explicit Black Sea-centered strategy would put U.S.-Turkish relations at the forefront, and a failure to align would tell both countries that they need to re-examine their strategic relationship. At this point, U.S.-Turkish relations seem to be based on a systematic avoidance of confronting realities. With the Black Sea as a centerpiece, evasion, which is rarely useful in creating realistic strategies, would be difficult.
The Centrality of Romania

The second critical country is Romania. The Montreux Convention prohibits the unlimited transit of a naval force into the Black Sea through the Bosporus, controlled by Turkey. Romania, however, is a Black Sea nation, and no limitations apply to it, although its naval combat power is centered on a few aging frigates backed up by a half-dozen corvettes. Apart from being a potential base for aircraft for operations in the region, particularly in Ukraine, supporting Romania in building a significant naval force in the Black Sea -- potentially including amphibious ships -- would provide a deterrent force against the Russians and also shape affairs in the Black Sea that might motivate Turkey to cooperate with Romania and thereby work with the United States. The traditional NATO structure can survive this evolution, even though most of NATO is irrelevant to the problems facing the Black Sea Basin. Regardless of how the Syria-Iraq drama ends, it is secondary to the future of Russia's relationship with Ukraine and the European Peninsula. Poland anchors the North European Plain, but the action for now is in the Black Sea, and that makes Romania the critical partner in the European Peninsula. It will feel the first pressure if Russia regains its position in Ukraine.

I have written frequently on the emergence -- and the inevitability of the emergence -- of an alliance based on the notion of the Intermarium, the land between the seas. It would stretch between the Baltic and Black seas and would be an alliance designed to contain a newly assertive Russia. I have envisioned this alliance stretching east to the Caspian, taking in Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan. The Poland-to-Romania line is already emerging. It seems obvious that given events on both sides of the Black Sea, the rest of this line will emerge.

The United States ought to adopt the policy of the Cold War. That consisted of four parts. First, allies were expected to provide the geographical foundation of defense and substantial forces to respond to threats. Second, the United States was to provide military and economic aid as necessary to support this structure. Third, the United States was to pre-position some forces as guarantors of U.S. commitment and as immediate support. And fourth, Washington was to guarantee the total commitment of all U.S. forces to defending allies, although the need to fulfill the last guarantee never arose.

The United States has an uncertain alliance structure in the Greater Black Sea Basin that is neither mutually supportive nor permits the United States a coherent power in the region given the conceptual division of the region into distinct theaters. The United States is providing aid, but again on an inconsistent basis. Some U.S. forces are involved, but their mission is unclear, it is unclear that they are in the right places, and it is unclear what the regional policy is.

Thus, U.S. policy for the moment is incoherent. A Black Sea strategy is merely a name, but sometimes a name is sufficient to focus strategic thinking. So long as the United States thinks in terms of Ukraine and Syria and Iraq as if they were on different planets, the economy of forces that coherent strategy requires will never be achieved. Thinking in terms of the Black Sea as a pivot of a single diverse and diffuse region can anchor U.S. thinking. Merely anchoring strategic concepts does not win wars, nor prevent them. But anything that provides coherence to American strategy has value.

The Greater Black Sea Basin, as broadly defined, is already the object of U.S. military and political involvement. It is just not perceived that way in military, political or even public and media calculations. It should be. For that will bring perception in line with fast-emerging reality.

Read more: Ukraine, Iraq and a Black Sea Strategy | Stratfor
138  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fracking and arsenic-- correlation implied on: September 02, 2014, 10:06:34 PM

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/09/02/3477823/texas-arsenic-fracking-study/
139  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Tuhon and Son (Sled Dog) #16: Guest: Crafty Dog on: September 02, 2014, 09:10:11 PM


https://www.facebook.com/crashbdx/posts/10152353092223553
140  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libya and on: September 02, 2014, 08:13:05 PM
Thank you for the follow up-- which exemplifies our code here:  "We search for Truth."
141  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America on: September 02, 2014, 08:04:55 PM
How does the saying go?

"Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way."
142  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dad of KIA SEAL writes to Obama on: September 02, 2014, 08:02:24 PM
No doubt this will get the same level as Cindy Sheehan's utterances to Bush-2:

=============================

"After finally choosing to view the barbaric, on-camera beheading by ISIS of freelance war correspondent James Foley, I have been left with a level of rage known only to those of us who have sacrificed unspeakable offerings on the altar of world peace.

My offering was my only son — Aaron Carson Vaughn. Aaron was a member of SEAL Team VI. He was killed in action when a CH47D Chinook, carrying thirty Americans and eight Afghans was shot down in the Tangi River Valley of Afghanistan on Aug. 6, 2011.

Many times over the past three years, I have been asked what drove my son to choose his particular career. What made him want to be a Navy SEAL? My answer is simple.

Aaron Vaughn was a man who possessed the courage to acknowledge evil. And evil, once truly acknowledged, demands response. Perhaps this is why so few are willing to look it in the eye. It is much simpler — much safer — to look the other way.

That is, unless you are the leader of the Free World.

As Commander-in-Chief, your actions — or lack thereof — Mr. President, cost lives. As you bumble about in your golf cart, slapping on a happy face and fist-pounding your buddies, your cowardly lack of leadership has left a gaping hole — not only in America’s security — but the security of the entire globe. Your message has come across loud and clear, sir: You are not up to this job. You know it. We know it. The world knows it.

Please vacate the people’s house and allow a man or woman of courage and substance to seize the reigns of this out-of-control thug-fest and regain the balance we, America, have provided throughout our great history.

Thanks to your “leadership” from whatever multi-million dollar vacation you happen to be on at any given moment, the world is in chaos. What’s been gained, you’ve lost. What’s been lost, you’ve decimated. You’ve demolished our ability to hold the trust of allies. You’ve made a mockery of the title “President.” And you’ve betrayed the nation for which my son and over 1.3 million others have sacrificed their very lives.

But this should come as no surprise, since your wife uttered a vile statement on Feb. 18, 2008, during the primary campaign — one that speaks volumes of your true convictions. “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country,” she said.

I am sure my deceased son thanks you for that, Mrs. Obama. Oh, and you’re welcome.

Never in my lifetime have I witnessed such despair and such growing fear that the world’s last best hope, America, has finally been dismantled. Perhaps the better word is transformed — fundamentally transformed. Come to think of it, it’s become difficult — if not impossible — to believe things haven’t gone exactly as you planned, Mr. President.

Amazingly, in five short years, your administration has lurched from one disaster to another. You spearheaded the ambitious rush to end the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan — with no plan on how to do so effectively. Also, the release of “the Taliban five” in exchange for one American — without consulting Congress — is also on your shoulders.

You have been at the helm during unprecedented national security leaks — including, but not limited to the outing of SEAL Team VI on the Bin laden raid, the outing of the Pakistani doctor who provided the intelligence for that raid, the outing of Afghanistan’s CIA station chief, and the outing of your personal “kill list” to make you look tough. In addition, 75 percent of American deaths in Afghanistan and 83 percent of Americans-wounded-in-action have occurred on your watch, according to icasualties.org.

And now, we have this recent, heinous event: the beheading of an American citizen by a barbaric organization you foolishly referred to as “the JV team” in your statements to the New Yorker magazine in January.

You, sir, are the JV team. It’s time for you to step down and allow a true leader to restore our honor and protect our sons and daughters.

America has always been exceptional. And she will be again. You, Mr. President, are a bump in our road."

Reprinted with family's permission



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...sident-Obama-s-resignation.html#ixzz3CCH02irl
143  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Filipinos in Syria on: September 02, 2014, 04:14:24 PM
http://www.timesofisrael.com/filipino-force-defied-un-commander-in-golan-crisis/
144  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Where have the unaccompanied illegal alien children gone? on: September 02, 2014, 01:44:34 PM


Where Have the Unaccompanied Alien Children Gone?
The government has shut down three shelters at U.S. military bases holding the unaccompanied alien children that streamed across the southern border earlier in the year. The government has released 37,477 of the children across the states, but exactly where they won't say. Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, said, "It's outrageous. Now, this administration is telling the American people -- and Congress -- that we're not even entitled to know where these people are, where they're being held, what communities are going to be impacted." HHS has released a list of where 29,890 of the unaccompanied alien children were sent by county. But it doesn't show what towns are affected, whether the children are sent into a group home, or whether they are united with their families or are now in the foster care system. According to the Washington Examiner, only 280 were deported
145  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wesbury: Boy, you guys are really wrong on: September 02, 2014, 01:42:07 PM


The ISM Manufacturing Index Surged to 59.0 in August To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 9/2/2014

The ISM manufacturing index surged to 59.0 in August from 57.1 in July, easily beating the consensus expected level of 57.0. (Levels higher than 50 signal expansion; levels below 50 signal contraction.)
The major measures of activity were mixed in August, but all remain well above 50, signaling growth. The new orders index rose to 66.7 from 63.4, while the production index increased to 64.5 from 61.2. The supplier deliveries index dipped slightly to 53.9 from 54.1. The employment index was little changed at 58.1 from 58.2 in July.
The prices paid index declined to 58.0 in August from 59.5 in July.

Implications: A booming report from the manufacturing sector as the ISM Manufacturing index, which measures factory sentiment around the country, rose to 59.0 in August, the highest level in more than three years. The best news in today’s report came from the new orders index, which rose to 66.7, the highest reading in more than a decade, and a sign that factory activity should continue to pick up in the months ahead. According to the Institute for Supply Management, an overall index level of 59.0 is consistent with real GDP growth of 5.2% annually. While last week’s GDP report came in at a strong 4.2% for Q2, we don’t expect the growth rate to remain quite that fast over the remainder of the year. The long-term link between the ISM report and real GDP growth has tended to over-estimate real GDP growth in the past several years. On the inflation front, the prices paid index fell to a still elevated 58.0 in August from 59.5 in July. Along with broader measures of consumer and producer prices, inflation is showing signs of overly loose monetary policy. The employment index was essentially unchanged at 58.1 in August, just off the three year high reading of 58.2 in July’s report. With the data in today’s release, we are currently forecasting a gain of about 25,000 manufacturing jobs for this Friday’s employment survey. In other news today, construction increased 1.8% in July and 3.3% including upward revisions for May and June. The gain in July itself was led by state and local projects (like paving roads and building bridges). A large gain in commercial construction was led by power plants and manufacturing facilities. The upward revisions for May/June suggest real GDP will be revised up to a 4.4% annual growth rate in Q2 from a prior report of 4.2%.
146  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Corruption in education on: September 02, 2014, 01:26:42 PM


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/02/world/americas/billboard-drives-home-extent-of-corruption-as-schools-suffer.html?emc=edit_th_20140902&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=49641193
147  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Medical fascism in the UK on: September 02, 2014, 01:25:01 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/02/world/europe/parents-who-took-ill-son-abroad-fight-order-to-return-to-britain.html?emc=edit_th_20140902&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=49641193
148  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH covers again for Obama by smearing the Pesh Merga on: September 02, 2014, 01:22:26 PM
Pravda on the Hudson forgets to mention that ISIS had the heavy armament that it captured from the fleeing army of the central government and that the Pesh Merga had not been supplied much at all for a long time.  That said, there are a number of points of interest in the article.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/02/world/middleeast/tarnishing-a-reputation-as-storied-warriors.html?emc=edit_th_20140902&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=49641193
149  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Maybe this will motivate Obama to come up with a plan , , , on: September 02, 2014, 01:01:31 PM


http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/steven-sotloff-video-appears-show-isis-execution-american/story?id=25216725
150  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Sam Adams as "Candidus", 1776 on: September 02, 2014, 11:56:07 AM
"Shame on the men who can court exemption from present trouble and expense at the price of their own posterity's liberty!" --Samuel Adams ("Candidus"), 1776
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 623
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!